World Championships 2013: Yelena Isinbayeva finally gives Russian crowd a reason to be cheerful in Moscow

Pole-vaulter rolls back the years to take gold as controversial LaShawn Merritt is surprise winner of 400m

the Luzhniki Stadium

Shock! Horror! Hold the back page! After three and half days and seven sessions when the atmosphere at these World Championships rivalled that of the Sea of Tranquillity, where Neil Armstrong took his small step for man, something reminiscent of London 2012 fever suddenly broke out in the Lukhniki Stadium.

There were chants from the crowd, huge, great roars for the resurgent Yelena Isinbayeva, and bums on more than three-quarters of the seats in the 59,000-capacity arena. There was even a Russian version of a Mexican Wave. Who would have thought it?

Certainly not Felix Sanchez. After running in the first-round heats of the 400 metres hurdles in a near-deserted arena on Monday, the two-time Olympic champion who competes for the Dominican Republic lamented: "It's dead. There's no atmosphere. Like night and day compared to London 2012." The reason for the transformation? The drawing power of Isinbayeva.

There was a time when the Russian national treasure was the untouchable queen of the pole vault. The world record holder, at 5.06m, and a two-time Olympic and world champion, the pride of Volgograd is 31 now and contemplating what was at first announced as retirement but has since been clarified as a pregnant pause. "I'm not ending my career," she said. "I want to start a family and try to return to reclaim all my titles."

Going into the final, all of Isinbayeva's outdoor titles had gone since 2008, the year in which she claimed her second Olympic gold. The only one remaining in her possession is the world indoor crown she won in Istanbul last year, before taking Olympic bronze in London behind Jenn Suhr of the US and Yarisley Silva of Cuba.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



A failure on her first attempt at 4.65m did not exactly bode well for Isinbayeva, but she cleared that height at the second time of asking and had the crowd in raptures again as she sailed over 4.75m, 4.82m and 4.89 first time. "Ye-lena! Ye-lena!" they chanted.

There was another roar when Suhr dislodged the bar at her third and final attempt at 4.89m. That left Silva with one attempt to launch herself over the upright and remain in contention for gold. And who would have thought that? A potential Cuban missile crisis in prospect right here in the Russian capital.

It was duly averted. Silva defaulted and Isinbayeva launched herself over the trackside advertising hoardings and into the crowd to embrace her coach, Yevgeny Trofimov. Ever the diva, playing to the gallery, she had the bar raised to 5.07m. She was unable to rise to the challenge of a new world record height. Not that the crowd cared much.

Suhr took the silver – ahead of Silva – but there was no consolation prize for another champion from London 2012. The young Grenadian Kirani James faded to ninth in the men's 400m final. LaShawn Merritt, famed for failing a drugs test because of a male enhancement product, went out hard and kept it going all the way – winning by a whopping 0.23sec in 43.74sec.

Merritt powers to victory in the men’s 400m (Getty) Merritt powers to victory in the men’s 400m (Getty)  

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital