MOSCOW: Men’s pole vault legend Sergey Bubka said on Saturday he is hoping double Olympic women’s pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva will end her major championship career in spectacular style with world title gold.
Bubka, who is the head of the organising committee of the world championships in Moscow, said the 31-year-old Russian would have the best stage of all to bow out on in front of her home crowd.
She gets her campaign underway on Sunday in qualifying, with the final on Tuesday.
Isinbayeva, a former gymnast who admitted Bubka’s dominance of the event inspired her to take it up, has gone on to set 28 world records, including the present mark of 5.06 metres.
She is also a two-time world outdoor champion but has not won a global title since the 2008 Olympics.
However, she announced in July that these championships — at the venue where she won her first ever national title — would be her last.
Bubka, who is still the men’s world record holder outdoors and indoors with 6.14m and 6.15m respectively, is as great a fan of her’s as she is of him and, while he said he had not been able to be in touch because of his heavy workload, he was looking forward more than anything to watching her.
“Isinbayeva’s appearing here is a very interesting and great story,” the 49-year-old Ukrainian told a small group of reporters.
“This could be the highlight of her career. To perform in front of her home supporters and in Moscow at a world championships is wonderful. Performing in front of one’s home crowd is different, you need extra guts.
“I think she’s positive, happy and ready to perform really well.”
Bubka, who won six world outdoor titles and the 1988 Olympic gold, was phlegmatic about the present crop of male pole vaulters and their chances of breaking his record that has stood since 1994.
France’s Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie appears the man most likely to challenge his mark – Bubka made a habit of breaking the world record outdoors during his stellar career setting a new mark 35 times.
“Lavillenie is a great leader of the men’s pole vault at the moment,” said Bubka.
“He vaulted 6.02m this season and had a go at trying to break my record.
“I am here to help and serve the present crop of pole vaulters. It is a good and exciting discipline. For me the key point to breaking my record is the technique of how you hold the pole.
“If that comes together then who knows, the record can go today, tomorrow, some time, but it will happen.
“I understand that it will be broken one day and I can’t do very much about it as I am now sitting here in a suit. Of course when I was competing and the record was broken then I had the chance to go back out and aim to break it.
“That pushed me to climb that much higher, indeed I never stopped wanting to go higher. However, now it is the time for new people and new champions.”