MOSCOW: Russian pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva said she was feeling good after Monday qualifying for the finals of the Russian athletics championships.

Isinbayeva cleared the qualification mark of 4.10m at the second attempt in what was her first performance on home soil in a long time.

“I have very positive feelings today,” Isinbayeva told the press. “Everything is perfect here: the great arena, excellent surface, even the weather is good. I’m looking forward to a classy performance here.”

Although she has been pre-selected to represent her country at next month’s world championships in the same stadium, Isinbayeva said she had decided to compete at the national championships because she lacked competition practice this season.

“I want to try the new surface at Luzhniki and to test my current form because I competed at too few events this season,” she said.

“I experienced some health problems that prevented me from competing at some of this season’s events. Here I just want to jump ad libitum without any particular goals as I was already pre-selected for the world championships.

“Probably I will try to set up my new personal record,” added the world record-holder jokingly.

It is several years since Isinbayeva has been in the kind of form she was in 2009 when she set the world mark of 5.06m.

She failed to medal at the last two world championships and finished third at the Olympics in London last year.

Meanwhile, Rinas Akhmadeyev won the men’s 5,000m in 13min 49.73sec, ahead of Stepan Kiselev and Andrei Karpin.

“I’m happy to win the national title even though I’m not really happy with my time here,” Akhamadeyev said.

Natalia Aristarkhova won the women’s 3,000m steeplechase in a time of 9min 34.33sec ahead of Natalia Gorchakova and Lyudmila Lebedeva.



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