Pole vault champ Isinbayeva makes winning return

Heusden, Belgium: Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva defied strong winds to clinch victory in her first outdoor meeting of the season on Saturday as the Russian golden girl began her build-up to the world championships.

Isinbayeva recorded a modest winning effort of 4.60m, way below her world record of 5.06m set in Zurich in August 2009.

The 29-year-old, who has suffered a series of setbacks in the last two seasons, will continue her preparations for the August 27-September 4 world championships in Daegu, South Korea, by competing at Lugano (July 18) and Lucerne (July 21).

Isinbayeva became Russia`s best known sportswoman by winning Olympic gold in Athens and Beijing and lifting the world record to well above five metres.

However, her aura of invincibility slipped when she failed to record a height in the final stage of the 2009 Berlin world championships and only came fourth in last year`s world indoor championships in Doha.

Isinbayeva, who has set 27 world records in her career, has said she was preparing to gain revenge for her defeat in Berlin where the world title was won by Anna Rogowska of Poland.

Bureau Report

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