‘Worried’ Isinbayeva eyes golden hat-trick
Russian athlete Yelena Isinbayeva prepares to compete in the women's pole vault contest during the IAAF Diamond League Herculis. AFP photo
Almost everybody sees Yelena Isinbayeva as the outright favorite to claim the gold medal in pole vault at the 2012 Olympic Games, but the Russian star said that she is not comfortable.
The pole vault events at the London Olympic Stadium start with the qualification round on Aug. 5.
The 30-year-old athlete looks to cap a hat-trick of Olympic gold medals to add to her 2004 Sydney and 2008 Beijing triumphs.
Isinbayeva will bid to safely negotiate qualifying for the final on Aug. 6. The 30-year-old Russian world record holder has suffered rare but bitter defeats during the last three seasons.
Isinbayeva heads to London boosted by gold in the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul but with another failure to clear 4.70 meters in the Monaco Diamond League meet on July 20.
“I’m physically and mentally ready for the Games, of course, but as a human, I’m worried like any other competitor,” said Isinbayeva, who failed to record a height in a tear-stained 2009 world championships in Berlin and came just sixth in last year’s worlds in Daegu, South Korea. Ukrainian pole vault legend Sergei Bubka said fans should not expect world record performances in the competition.
“How high you go does not matter at the Olympics, it is all about winning and the most important is to be Olympic champion. There is double pressure at the Games for the athletes,” Bubka said.
“For Yelena, she is a great athlete, she has achieved everything and it basically all depends on her.”
Isinbayeva said that she plans to retire from sport after next year’s World Championships in Moscow.
Compiled from AFP and Reuters reports by the Daily News staff.