PHOENIX (Reuters) - Olympic silver medalist Jenn Suhr used a rare fourth attempt to set a national indoor pole vault record of 4.86 meters(15 feet 11 1/4 inches) at the U.S. championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Sunday.
Only Russian Olympic gold medallist Yelena Isinbayeva, whose world record is 5.00 meters (16 feet 4 3/4 inches), has jumped higher indoors.
Officials granted Suhr the extra try after noticing the pole vault equipment was improperly set after the six-foot, 29-year-old failed on her third attempt at 4.86 (15 feet 11 1/4 inches).
She then cleared the height to surpass Russian Svetlanta Feofanova by a centimeter (one-quarter inch) as the number two indoor vaulter of all-time.
“The best is just to keep coming out healthy and keep jumping,” Suhr told reporters after breaking her 2009 national record of 4.83 meters (15 feet 10 inches).
Isinbayeva 10 times has cleared 4.86 meters (15 feet 11 1/4 inches) or better indoors.
Six other 2011 world-leading performances were set in the meeting as athletes took advantage of Albuquerque’s altitude and rarefied air.
Little-known Janay DeLoach produced the biggest surprise with the best women’s indoor long jump in three years, 6.99 meters (22 feet 11 1/4 inches).
The stunning performance left world champion and runner-up Brittney Reese 13 centimeters (5 inches) behind. DeLoach’s previous best had been 6.67 meters (21 feet 10 3/4 inches).
The sprints, as expected, were fast.
World indoor silver medallist Mike Rodgers clocked a personal best and world-leading 6.48 seconds to win the men’s 60 meters.
Alex Anderson edged favorite Carmelita Jeter in the women’s race, just missing the year’s top time with her run of 7.12 seconds.
Dominant Kellie Wells improved her world lead in the 60 meters hurdles by twice clocking 7.79 seconds, and Natasha Hastings took over the top spot in the women’s 400 meters with a run of 50.83 seconds.
Both shot puts produced 2011 indoor leaders. Former collegiate champion Ryan Whiting won the men’s event at 21.35 meters (70 feet 1/2 inch) and Jillian Camarena-Williams added a national record 19.87 meters (65 feet 2 1/4 inches) for the women.
Many top U.S. athletes skipped the competition because there is no world indoor championship this year.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Steve Ginsburg