Istanbul: Yelena Isinbayeva ended a three-year gold medal drought by winning the pole vault Sunday at the world indoor championships with just two jumps.
The Russian set a world record of 16 feet, 5 1/4 inches last month and failed to improve that after clinching gold. It was Isinbayeva`s fourth indoor world title but her first in four years. Over the same period, she also lost her world outdoor title.
"I was waiting for this victory like a mother is waiting to give birth to her baby," Isinbayeva said. "The last three years showed me how important it is for me to win."
She won the title at the Atakoy Arena with a height of 15-9, which she cleared with the ease she has so often shown during her career.
While others struggled, she covered herself in towels and waited.
"I am not really surprised that I only needed two attempts, two jumps to win," Isinbayeva said after winning Russia`s only gold of the championships.
She now goes for the defense of the most precious medal of all - the Olympic gold. She will be seeking her third straight title in London, an unprecedented feat. No woman in track and field has managed to win three individual Olympic golds in three successive games.
While Isinbayeva regained her winning form, Meseret Defar felt what it`s like to lose.
The Ethiopian fell short of becoming the first woman to win five straight world indoor titles when Hellen Obiri of Kenya came from behind on the final lap to win the women`s 3,000 meters.
Defar took the lead halfway through the race and seemed in control until Obiri appeared out of the blue on the outside. The Ethiopian champion tried for one final kick to stay with Obiri, but she fell even farther back on the final straight.
"I didn`t expect it. I am confused," Defar said.
Liu Xiang was another favorite who lost during the final session of the three-day event, coming up short in the 60 hurdles against Aries Merritt, who added to a banner championships for the United States.
In the absence of defending champion Dayron Robles, Liu was supposed to win easily, but was left chasing Merritt all the way.
The United States also got gold from Bernard Lagat in the 3,000, Will Claye in the triple jump and Brittney Reese in the long jump. The men`s 4x400 relay team crossed the line first but was later disqualified.
Lagat won his third 3,000 world indoor title, breaking free with 100 meters to go to beat Kenyan rivals Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi.
Mo Farah was the favorite, but he failed to get on the medal stand and finished fourth. The Briton beat Lagat in a stirring 5,000 finish at the world outdoor championships in August.
At 37, Lagat still has the finishing kick of runners half his age.
"It is not dying away," he said.
Lagat knew the Kenyans would set the pace, so he didn`t fall back and risk being surprised by a sudden breakaway. So when the final surge came, he was prepared.