Russia hails Yelena Isinbayeva, yearns for more

Last Updated: Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 00:25

Moscow: Russia on Wednesday hailed the stunning triumph of pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva at her home world championships in Moscow, hoping her victory would not mark the culmination of an illustrious career.

Isinbayeva`s victory at Moscow`s Luzhniki stadium late yesterday galvanized the entire championships and left Russians hoping that that the career of their best-loved athlete would not end there.

"I congratulate Yelena Isinbayeva on a bright, emotional and well-earned victory. I wish Yelena new achievements -- in sport and in her personal life!" Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Facebook.

Isinbayeva announced afterwards that she intended to take an 18-month break to have a baby but said she could still compete in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games if she still had the condition.

"Continue Yelena! You are wonderful!" said the Sovietsky Sport daily. "Isinbayeva did not give one chance to her opponents. It would be a shame if she left sport."

"A bird of happiness," said the Sport Express daily. "Yesterday evening, Yelena Isinbayeva made thousands of fans in the Luzhniki stadium happy as well as millions across the country."

The head of Russia`s Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, said he would petition the government to ensure that Isinbayeva is honoured with a high state award.

"Yelena Isinbayeva was stunning yesterday. I think her gold is comparable, or even better, than Olympic gold since she came back after a period of not-so-successful performances," he added, quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency.

Loved in Russia for both her sporting prowess and her emotional honesty, Isinbayeva lives in the southern city of Volgograd and is the daughter of an ethnic Russian mother and a father from the Caucasus region of Dagestan.

The leader of Dagestan region, which is battling an Islamist insurgency, also joined in the congratulations.

"You are the real pride of Dagestan and Russia," Ramazan Abdulatipov said in an statement. "In the name of the Dagestani people, I wish you further achievements and happiness."

Her exploits in front of packed stands were also a boost for the championships, which until now had failed to create much buzz in the Russian capital and had been criticized for banks of empty seating.

"I could not have believed in the past that 50,000 people could come to Luzhniki to watch athletics," former Olympic long jump champion Tatyana Lebedeva wrote on Sovietsky Sport.

Her coach Evgeniy Trofimov told Sport Express that he realized Isinbayeva was in the form to capture the title "two weeks before the start of the competition".

He said that Isinbayeva had the potential to jump higher than her 4.89-metre title-winning height and would be able to aim for previously untouched levels of 5.15 or 5.20 if she competes at the Rio Olympics.

AFP



First Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 00:25

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