Markov on mark with pole vault gold

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The Independent Online

Dimitriv Markov battled back from the brink of elimination to win the world pole vault title and become the third man in history to clear 6.05 metres.

The Belarus-born Australian, the silver medallist at the 1997 World Championships, failed his opening two vaults at 5.75m, but sailed clear on his third attempt and was perfect during the rest of the competition. He won the gold by equalling his season's best height of 5.95m.

Markov then ordered the bar to be raised to 6.05m, clearing it on his second attempt before missing three times at 6.10m.

Israel's Alexander Averbukh, bronze medallist in 1999, took silver with 5.85m. The American Olympic champion, Nick Hysong, also went clear at 5.85m but was forced to settle for the bronze on the countback.

''It was great, it was fun because over six metres you get to fly,'' Markov said.

He is only the third man to take the world pole vault crown. The Ukrainian Sergei Bubka captured the first six golds before losing to Russia's Maksim Tarasov two years ago in Seville. Bubka is the world record holder at 6.14m.

Markov, who emigrated to Australia from Belarus, continues the domination of the event by athletes nurtured in the former-Soviet Union.

All eight world titles have now gone to Russians or vaulters from former Soviet republics.