Up until recent years Venezuela wasn’t a country known in the athletics world as a pole vaulting powerhouse. However, in 2005 Keisa Monterola put the South American nation in the map thanks to the silver medal she obtained at the 2005 IAAF World Youth Championships with, what was then, a national record of 4.30m.
Her great achievement in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh is one of the sweetest moments for athletics in Venezuela in the past 20 years and has since served as an inspiration for the younger generations not least Robeilys Peinado, the country big hope for a medal, and maybe gold, at this year’s IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk next month.
Peinado leads this year’s girls’ list in her event with 4.35m, a height she achieved last month in Barquisimeto.
Nobody better than her coach, Carlos Faneyth, is placed to explain Peinado’s fantastic rise, who was only seven years old when Monterola obtained Venezuela’s only medal at any IAAF World Championships.
“She started with gymnastics at three years old, as she was always very athletic, coordinated, and almost hyperactive. At age 12, when she was a promising national figure at that sport, she became taller and begun to experience difficulties, especially with the asymmetric bars.
“At that moment she decided to quit gymnastics and picked up athletics after observing a Pole Vault trial for new talents at the National Stadium. A colleague diverted her to me in December of 2010; she had just turned 13.”
“Robeilys’ first challenges were to get used to running with, and without, a pole; and to learn the initial phase of the vault. We taught her all that using the principles and methods of the so-called ‘Donetsk School’.