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Isinbayeva Aims for 27th Record

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Yelena Isinbayeva
Isinbayeva - UK events have a special place for the World Record holder


20 February 2009


OLYMPIC pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva hopes her new coloured poles will inspire her to her 27th world record in Birmingham tomorrow [Saturday].

The Russian superstar will aim to top her own indoor best of 5.0m at the Aviva Grand Prix, at the same National Indoor Arena venue where she set a then world record of 4.88m in 2005.

In total, Isinbayeva has set seven world records in the UK, and on Saturday will unveil the latest prototype of her pole designs that she hopes will add a splash of colour to the sport.

Isinbayeva said: “I first used the coloured poles in Donetsk. I have three that are coloured pink, baby blue and yellow. They inspire me definitely. The first time they did not get the colours exactly how I wanted, as I like more technicolour.

“We’ll start out with the coloured poles and then maybe eventually we can get some machinery that will print other things onto the poles like dolphins, flowers, birds maybe! I have a lot of poles, so every one could be different.

Isinbayeva’s charismatic performances have made her a favourite of British track audiences and she admits she would love to reward those who turn out in Birmingham with another pole vaulting masterclass.

The 26-year-old set her very first world record on British shores in 2003 and became the first woman to clear the milestone height of 5.0m at Crystal Palace in 2005, so she has a special place in her heart for the UK.

And despite her remarkable run of world records  and having won every major title the sport has to offer, she says she has no problem motivating herself for the big occasion.

She added: “My first world record was in the UK, in Gateshead, and my most important world record was in London – everything seems to happen here for me.

“My first aim will be to win in Birmingham, and then I’ll try for a new world record. I would love to do that for the British crowd.

“I will never get bored of setting world records. Each time I break one I get the same strange feelings, that I have done something that nobody has ever done before. I enjoy that.”

Isinbayeva is a clear favourite to win gold at the World Championships in Berlin later this year, with few of her global rivals indicating they can challenge the standards she sets.

American Jenn Stuczynski was her closest challenger last year with a best of 4.92m, although Isinbayeva admits Stuczynski’s prediction that she would be “kicking some Russian butt” at the Olympics in Beijing gave her all the motivation she needed to go on and claim the gold in style.

Isinbayeva said: “I welcome rivals, but first they must respect me and what she did was disrespectful. If they challenge me with results, I will accept it. But if it’s only with the words, I think it looks silly.

“I was already hungry for the victory, but after those words from her I was even more motivated – and maybe they helped me to jump that high.

“It would be good to have a closer rival. It would be good for the crowd as at the moment, they are maybe sceptical and say ‘oh, we know that Isinbayeva is going to win’. But for me it is no different as I always try and do my best – even if I am alone there. I’ll always try and do a world record so that I can put on a great show for the spectators.

Isinbayeva’s fame puts her alongside the likes of new Arsenal signing Andrey Arshavin as the country’s most successful current sporting exports.

Isinbayeva is a fan of Arshavin’s former club and Uefa Cup winners Zenit St Petersburg, and believes he will be a success in England.

“It is difficult for me to follow football when I am in competition but of course I will watch the big world and European championships.

“I think Arshavin is a good player. He’s young and he has a lot of potential and I hope in future he becomes one of the greatest as I think he has the talent.

“I wouldn’t like to compare myself and Arshavin though – he is a footballer and I am a pole vaulter. He can be the best in football and I can be the best in pole vault.

Isinbayeva is one of five reigning Olympic champions competing at the Aviva Grand Prix.

Tickets for the event are available on www.uka.org.uk or on the door of the NIA on the day. The event starts at 1pm on Saturday with doors opening at 10.30am.