February 24, 2012 / 3:02 AM / 8 years ago

Athletics-Pole vaulter Isinbayeva soars back on top

STOCKHOLM, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Double Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva was unwilling to give interviews on Wednesday before the XL Galan indoor meeting in Stokholm, but 24 hours and a world record later the Russian was telling anyone who would listen no one would come between her and another gold medal in London.

Plagued by injury and poor form since winning the Beijing Olympics gold medal in 2008, the once dominant pole vaulter cleared 5.01 metres to break the indoor world record on Thursday and said she was definitely back on track.

There have been several false dawns for the 29-year-old, who also holds the outdoor world record of 5.06 metres, but she was adamant that this was the real thing.

“This was the real comeback,” said Isinbayeva, who has set 15 outdoor world records and 13 indoors. “I said to myself, ‘This is my night, I have to do my best’, and my body answered, ‘Yes we can, we can do it together.’”

“I just jumped,” she said. “I just enjoyed the competition. I just felt confident.

“I didn’t have any pain, any injury, the body is completely healthy, and the mind had good feelings inside. No pressure at all on me.”

Before the competition she felt like a celebrity, one who was ready to put on a show for the crowd, she said.

“For me, it seemed like a dream. I don’t understand how it happened,” she said.

“I was ready to jump this high. In training I’ve done this two times. My coach told me that I could easily do it at the competition if I do the technical things right.

“Today I did everything right and 5.01 meters happens.”

Asked if she could continue to go higher, Isinbayeva was unequivocal.

“Yes, yes of course,” she said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t continue to train.

“5.01 is pretty high but once I’m on the track I don’t feel it’s that high. Sometimes I see this height like it was 4.15 and tonight (it felt like) the bar was much lower than usual for me.”

Isinbayeva was asked if she felt there was anyone who could challenge her in London.

“I think you can answer this question for yourself,” she said with a laugh and a shrug of the shoulders. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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