It has been an interesting week for German pole vaulting. First came Björn Otto’s world lead and German national record jump of 6.01 in Aachen and on Friday evening it was Silke Speigelburg’s turn to carry the flag in neighbouring Belgium.
In front of 47,000 spectators, Spiegelburg saved her season with victory in the Diamond League and $40,000 prize money. It little mattered that she did not manage a new German record of 4.83 since she had already set the current record of 4.82 earlier in the season.
But it was not as easy task for the Leverkusenerin as she had the world champion, Fabiana Murer of Brazil, breathing down her neck and victory was the only option for Spiegelburg if she wanted to retain the trophy she won last year.
The Brazilian, however, could not get past 4.65 while Spiegelburg, after two failures at the same height, reserved her final jump for 4.75, which she cleared, giving her a nail-biting two-point win overall.
“The first attempt over 4.83 was not bad, but the pole was unfortunately too soft,” said Spiegelburg. “But the main thing is I have defended my Diamond League title. Since I did not do so well at the Olympics, I have at least won this.”
Spiegelburg started the year well with a German indoor record of 4.77 at home in Leverkusen and then set new national outdoor figures of 4.82 in Monaco. In the meantime she had only finished sixth in the European championships, a performance that did not bode well for the Olympics.
So it proved as she finished again outside the medals in London in fourth with a clearance of 4.65. But victory in the Diamond League means that she is once again the world’s best female pole vaulter.
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