Report: women's pole vault - IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019

With a clutch third attempt clearance at 4.95m, Anzhelika Sidorova prevailed in a titanic battle over Sandi Morris to claim gold in the women's pole vault.

On a quest to secure their first major outdoor titles, Sidorova and Morris were on fire, producing perfect score cards through 4.90m, a height that only the pair managed to conquer in a competition that will be remembered as the deepest in World Championships history.

“I knew that we had to jump 4.90 to reach the podium, but it turned out we needed to go to 4.95m,” said the authorised neutral athlete, who jumped to silver at the 2014 and 2018 editions of the World Indoor Championships. “I felt confident at every height. I just focused on clearing each height on my first attempt because that was the only chance to win.”

“My first thought today, if nothing else, was just to have fun, go out and enjoy it, and I did, and that showed in the way I jumped,” said Morris, who jumped to silver medal performances at the 2016 Olympic Games and 2017 World Championships before taking world indoor gold last year. “I knew it was going to be between me and Sidorova.”

A record 17 athletes advanced to the final after topping the automatic qualifying height of 4.60m in Friday's qualification round. Illustrating the quality of the field, an opening height of 4.50m, the highest ever start at the World Championships, did nothing to winnow the field; 4.70m, the next height, eliminated just four.

But only six remained after 4.80m, where the casualties included 2015 world champion Yarisley Silva, 2012 Olympic champion Jenn Suhr and 2017 bronze medallist Robeilys Peinado.

The medallists were decided at 4.85m. Morris and Sidorova moved on after their fourth straight clearances of the night while Katerina Stefanidi, the defending champion, sailed clear on her second. Meanwhile, Canada's Alysha Newman and Swede Angelica Bengtsson bowed out to finish fifth and sixth, respectively. Bengtsson was pleased; her third attempt clearance at 4.80m added four centimetres to her national record - after she broke a pole.

“This is the first time it has happened in my career, and I am very happy it happened,” Bengtsson said, “because I always wanted to break a pole.”

After a first miss at 4.90m, Stefanidi had the bar raised to a would-be lifetime best of 4.95m. Her first try wasn’t especially close. Neither was her second, forcing the Greek Olympic champion to settle for bronze.

Morris was up next, produced plenty of height but hit the bar on the way down. Sidorova’s jump was eerily similar. Morris produced a near identical jump on the second time of asking while Sidorova came up well short, sailing under the bar. Morris then dug deep and came tatalisingly close with her third, but brushed it with her arm on the way down.

Conversely, Sidorova’s jump was clean to mark her second career best of the night, to finally clinch global gold. Emotionally spent, she burst into tears and called it a night.

“A few weeks ago I cried when I lost the Diamond League final,” Sidorova said. “Now I’m glad I was beaten there. It made me angrier, stronger and much more focused on the main season’s goal.”

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A few weeks have passed since Yarisley Silva became the first woman to win three consecutive Pan-American Games pole vault titles, but the Cuban still has unfinished business – not just for this season but for 2020 and beyond.

At the recent Pan-American Games in Lima, the 32-year-old cleared 4.75m to take gold ahead of USA’s Katie Nageotte and Canada’s Alysha Newman. Along with securing her third successive title, Silva maintained her record of clearing a season’s best at the Games – a trend that began on her debut in 2007.

That’s not to say it was an easy victory, though. The humid winter of the Peruvian capital made the competition more challenging to all athletes. They only had 40 minutes of warm-up instead of a full hour. Needing to start vaulting at lower heights than usual, Silvia struggled with her run-up with the bar at 4.35m, finally getting over it on her third attempt.

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From then on, though, she was her usual self and kept fighting for gold.

“It’s been 12 years of good and hard times,” said Silva as she reflected on her past competitions. “It’s been a road of perseverance, lots of lessons learned and positive things to move forward. I am very happy. I have accomplished goals that many athletes would have hoped to achieve. I feel privileged to have competed in four Pan American Games. I am still strong at 32 years of age.”

Silva took bronze in 2007 at the age of 20 with a national record of 4.30m. Four years later, she beat the then world champion Fabiana Murer to the title in Guadalajara and then defeated the decorated Brazilian again in Toronto in 2015 with a Games record of 4.85m.

USA’s Pat Mason won three consecutive Pan-American pole vault titles between 1991 and 1999. Eight other women, meanwhile, have achieved three consecutive Pan-American Games titles, but Silva is the first to do so in a women’s jumping event.

“All of my Pan-American titles have the same value,” she says. “I have fought hard to win all the Pan Am golds and other titles. I drew a new and positive experience from every competition.”

Ten days after winning the 2015 Pan-American gold, Silva cleared a lifetime best of 4.91m. Three weeks later, she won the world title in Beijing. So, naturally, she takes a lot of confidence from clearing a season’s best in Lima ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.

“It has been a great boost,” she said. “I knew I was in great form, but that height was elusive until Lima. To achieve such a performance when it mattered most gives me a lot of confidence to improve my results.”

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Silva’s win in the Peruvian capital is even more impressive considering the challenges she faced during her preparation in Cuba.

With a new track being installed at her training stadium in Havana, she missed a lot of vaulting sessions. She did not vault at all in between arriving home from the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London on 20 July until her arrival in Lima one week later.

Silva, however, doesn’t like to dwell on such problems.

“I am used to facing and overcoming obstacles along the way,” she says. “I have had a lot of support and my sponsor Puma has provided me the opportunity to compete in many events.”

With all eyes now focused on Doha, Silva is confident in her ability to repeat her world title from 2015.

“I have been world champion,” she says. “I was also the bronze medallist in 2013 and 2017. I want to be world champion again. The ladies are very competitive, but it is how we perform at the right time and the right place that matters most.”

Silva – who usually has nine poles with her at each competition – admits the women’s pole vault has evolved significantly since she started.

“The level is much higher,” she says. “We now see more women at 4.70m or higher. At the 2015 World Championships, we had seven women at 4.70m or higher. More women have taken up the event and we all have the desire to succeed. And this has been a close year with many of us around 4.65-4.80m.”

The 2014 world indoor champion believes her faith has been key to staying among the world’s elite for eight years since her fifth-place finish at the 2011 World Championships.

“My faith has kept me focused on my goals, despite all the obstacles along the way,” she says. “I am also thankful for the hard times. In times of need, you come to appreciate what I have achieved and who your real friends are. You come to realise that you have a lot to learn, nothing to lose. I have overcome any ‘can’t do’ thoughts and how to handle fame.”

The three-time Olympian is also motivated to support the new generation of Cuban pole vaulters, including her 18-year old training partner Rosaidi Robles, who broke Silva’s national U20 record earlier this year with 4.30m.

“I loved seeing Rosaidi compete with me at the Pan-Ams,” said Silva. “I am happy to share my experience, how to overcome difficult challenges. I am excited to teach the younger generation – both men and women – so that they can continue this winning path for Cuba after I retire.”

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Silva isn’t rushing into retirement just yet, though.

With the support of Alexander Navas, her coach for 17 years, the 2012 Olympic silver medallist is focused on two unfulfilled goals: vaulting five metres and winning an Olympic gold.

“My main motivation is to reach five metres,” says Silva, who is fifth on the world all-time list and one of nine women in history to ever vault 4.90m or higher. “I do not know when it will happen.

“I also want the Olympic gold,” she added. “It’s the only title missing in my pedigree. I hope to stay healthy so I can keep my dreams alive.”

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Yarisley: A Giant Woman in Love with the Sky

Villa Videna embraced Cuba, sports dignity, greatness, and glamour. Yarisley Silva (4.75m) and heptathlonist Adriana Rodríguez (6 113 points) exalted the name of Cuba in the stadium as they became the queens of day 3 in Pan American athletics.

Their performances were different. But the truth is both made fans jump for joy by taking us to our limits Thursday afternoon.

We shall always trust Yarisley in major events. No matter if her season performance had been poor all year long. She had not jumped higher than 4.70m this season. Besides, the scheduled training had been shortened…and was seemingly not enough.

But naming Yarisley Silva —at least to those who love track and field— is synonym of emotional abundance. Such deed in Lima had all of these ingredients.

Her body was not quite ready. She could not warm up well. All these, paired with the cool weather in Lima, somehow affected her readiness. Hence, she started off her competition with 4.25m.

Such decision evolved into fatigue and a higher number of attempts. If that were not enough, we almost suffer a heart attack when she jumped 4.35m in her third attempt.

From then on, she was almost perfect. She bet on the great skill she had in 2015. She easily jumped 4.45-4.55-4.65m. Some of her most important rivals in the area —Canada’s Alysha Newman (4.55m) and Venezuelan Robelys Peinado (4.55m)— found trouble in this height.

There were only two left. She and the American Kathryn Nageotte (4.70m, sixth in 2019 world ranking this season). Nageotte jumped 4.70m while Yarisley failed to jump in her first two attempts. Therefore, she risked everything and decided to take on the 4.75m in her last attempt. And she did it!

Her sports career has been now crowned with a winning jump, another caress to the sky; with her open arms to heaven.

The flag, the lap of honor, and the eternal gratitude to those who trusted her all the time.

Thanks Yarisley for some many years of sacrifice. Thanks for all those glorious moments you have given us.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff


Cuban Yarisley Silva produced the best performance of the third day of track and field at the Pan-American Games on Thursday (8), topping 4.75m to win the pole vault on another cold night at the “Estadio de la Videna” in Lima.

The 32-year-old from Pinar del Río secured her third successive Pan-Am Games after an intense journey. Silva, the 2015 world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist who is currently world ranked No.7, opened her day at 4.25m but needed all three tries before topping 4.35m. She later settled in and cleared 4.45m, 4.55m and 4.65m with her first jumps. By then Silva’s only remaining competition was USA’s Katie Nageotte, world ranked No.4, who topped 4.65m on her second attempt. Nageotte, who has a 4.82m season’s best, took the lead after topping 4.70m on her second try. Silva missed twice then decided to attack 4.75m, which proved to be the winning height and a season’s best.

Canada’s Alysha Newman, world ranked No.4 and a 4.77m performer this season, was third with 4.55m, while Venezuela’s Robeilys Peinado, the South American champion and 2017 world bronze medallist was only fourth along with USA’s Olivia Gruver with 4.55m.

Silva became the ninth women to win three titles at this quadrennial competition, joining Mexico’s Ana Guevara (at 400m), Adriana Fernández (5000m), Brazil’s Maurren Maggi (long jump) Cuba’s Aliuska López (100m hurdles), María Elena Sarría (shot put), discus throwers Carmen Romero and Maritza Martén and Yipsi Moreno (hammer).

More history unfolded in the 100m hurdles where Costa Rica’s Andrea Vargas won in 12.86 (0.1 m/s) delivering her country’s second-ever gold medal, and first medal by a woman. Vargas upset USA’s Chanel Brissett, who was second with 12.99 and Jamaica’s Megan Simmonds, third with 13.01. Vargas improved her own national record to 12.75 in the semi-finals.


Brazilian Alison Alves dos Santos extended his outstanding season to the Pan-Am Games and grabbed the 400m hurdles title with a South American U20 record of 48.45.

Javier dos Santos en route to the Pan-American Games 400m hurdles crown (Getty Images)Javier dos Santos en route to the Pan-American Games 400m hurdles crown (Getty Images) © Copyright

Dos Santos, bronze medallist at the 2018 World U20 Championships and world ranked No.9, entered the final 100m of the race behind Dominican Republic’s Juander Santos. Both were level at the final hurdle, but Santos clipped it and fell. Dos Santos won comfortably over USA’s Amere Lattin (48.98), while Jamaica’s Kemar Mowatt was third (49.09).

This is the fifth time that dos Santos improves his own South American U20 record in 2019. This season he also won the South American title, the Pan American U20 Championships and the World University Games. His 48.45 clocking places him third at the all-time U20 lists, while his victory in Lima makes him the second Brazilian to win the 400m hurdles after the three titles by Eronilde de Araújo (1991, 1995, 1999).

“The weather conditions weren’t ideal, but I am extremely pleased,” dos Santos said. “Before the beginning of the season I didn’t think it would be possible to run 48 seconds, but now I see it’s possible.”

Canada’s Sage Watson took the women’s title in 55.16. The 25 year-old, world ranked No.14, had been initially disqualified, but later was reinstated upon appeal. Watson ran a controlled race and delivered a strong kick to become the first Canadian to win this event. USA’s Anna Cockrell was second with 55.50 and Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton was third with 55.53.


Anthony Zambrano became the first Colombian to win the 400m with his triumph in 44.83. The 21-year-old, world ranked No.12, beat Jamaica’s Demish Gaye (44.94) in the closing stages. American Justin Robinson was third in 45.07.

In the women’s race, Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, world ranked No.4, had to dig deep to beat Mexico’s Paola Morán. Jackson, 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, clocked 50.73, while Morán, the 2019 World University Games champion, ran a personal best of 51.02. USA’s Courtney Okolo was third with 51.22.

José Carlos Villarreal gave Mexico its first-ever gold medal at 1500m in 3:39.93. The 22-year-old was the strongest in the final 100m, beating USA’s John Gregorek (3:40.42) and Canada’s William Paulson (3:40.42).

Carlos Villareal of Mexico takes the Pan-American 1500m title in Lima (Getty Images)Carlos Villareal of Mexico takes the Pan-American 1500m title in Lima (Getty Images) © Copyright

The women’s high jump was an all-Caribbean affair. Led by Saint Lucia’s Levern Spencer. The 35-year-old retained the title she won four years ago in Toronto on countback at 1.87m. Antigua and Barbuda’s Priscilla Frederick also repeated her second place from Toronto topping 1.87m with Jamaican Kimberly Willamson third with 1.84m.

On a memorable day for Chilean athletics, Gabriel Kehr and Humberto Mansilla dominated the men’s hammer throw. Kehr, 22, threw 74.98m in the second round to secure the title. Mansilla was second with 74.38m from round five, while USA’s Sean Donnelly was third with 74.23m. The last Chilean to take a medal in this event was Arturo Melcher, who took bronze in 1951.

Cuba’s Adriana Rodríguez won the heptathlon with 6113 points, a personal best for the 20-year-old. Rodríguez, who was second after the first day 36 points behind Trinidad and Tobago’s Tyra Gittens, reached 6.46m (-0.3 m/s) in the long jump, threw a modest 33.59m in the javelin and produced a 2:18.49 personal best at 800m. Gittens didn’t start the final event after disappointing results at long jump (5.44m) and javelin (32.41m). USA’s Annie Kunz was second with 5990, while Colombia’s Martha Araujo was third with a personal best of 5925. Cuban Yorgelis Rodríguez, world ranked No.5 and defending champion, dropped out after a no-height in the high jump. 


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Mexico’s Juan Luis Barrios became the first man athlete to win eight gold medals in athletics at the Central American and Caribbean Games as three records fell on the opening day of track and field action at Rafael Cotes stadium in Barranquilla, Colombia, on Sunday (29).

The defending 10,000m champion was content to sit and follow a pedestrian pace early in the race, as eight of the nine contenders covered the first half in 15:23.

With less than a mile to go, Guatemala’s Mario Pacay moved to the front and took Barrios with him as the duo separated themselves from the chasers. Pacay led at the bell, but Barrios found an extra gear with 250 metres to go and went on to win in 30:07.49, his eighth individual gold medal, to become the first male athlete to achieve such a feat.

“This marks the end of my track career,” said Barrios, a two-time Olympic 5000m finalist. “I never knew that I would achieve so much when I first competed in El Salvador (2002) as a teenager. I am grateful to the Colombian people. I love their joy of live and the passion they show in their everyday life.”

The Central American Games marked the start of his international career. A 1500m gold in El Salvador in 2002 paved the way for two 1500m-5000m doubles at the 2006 and 2010 Games. Four years ago, he claimed the 5000m-10,000m double at home in Xalapa.

Barrios’s successful track career also includes five Pan American Games medals.

Only two other athletes have won eight gold medals in the history of the Games: Cuba’s Ana Fidelia Quirot and Cuban-Mexican Liliana Allen, but none has won more than five individual titles.

A three-time gold medallist in previous editions, Puerto Rico’s Beverly Ramos was aiming to break Mexico’s dominance in the women’s 10,000m. Ramos led from the start and a 3:12 split in the third kilometre allowed her to gain a comfortable 40-metre lead over her closest chaser, Mexico’s Patricia Sanchez.

At the half-way mark, covered in 16:28, Ramos was on course to break Mexico’s Adriana Fernandez’s 20-year old Games record by more than a minute. She continued to enjoy a comfortable lead until the final lap. The faster pace and the solo running in hot and humid conditions took their toll on Ramos, who slowed down to a jog in the final 250 metres. Sanchez was inspired when she saw the lead had shrunk and overtook Ramos on the homestretch to clinch gold in 33:41.48, the first Games record in Barranquilla. Ramos fell to the track after crossing the line in 33:46.99.

Cuba’s 2012 Olympic silver medallist and 2015 world pole vault champion Yarisley Silva became the first athlete to successfully defend her title as she cleared 4.70m on her first attempt, 10 centimetres higher than her previous record set in Xalapa 2014. Silva opened with 4.40m and then cleared 4.60m. She called it a day after setting the second record of the championships.

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Fourteen men and nine women who have competed at 100m at previous editions of the CAC Games have won either Olympic or World Championships medals. The first round and semifinals of the women’s and men’s 100m lived up to the rich history of the region as the crowd was treated to fine sprinting on Sunday.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Cejhae Greene was the fastest in the men’s heats with a wind-aided 10.02 (2.4m/s). He came back two hours later and set a personal best and Games record of 10.00 in the second semifinal, faster than the 10.06 set by Churandy Martina in 2006.

Jamaica’s 2012 Olympic 4x100m gold medallist Nesta Carter showed solid form with a comfortable and wind-assisted 9.92 (2.1m/s) to win his heat. All finalists ran 10.10 or faster to enter Monday’s race for the medals.

Jamaica’s Jonielle Smith (11.22) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Khalifa St Fort (11.31) dominated the women’s semifinals. Monday’s final features two-time Games champion Tahesia Harrigan of the British Virgin Islands and could well see the Bahamian Chandra Sturrup’s 20-year Games record of 11.18 erased from the record books.

Colombia enjoyed its first gold in a hotly contested discus competition between two friends: Mauricio Ortega and Cuba’s defending champion Jorge Fernandez. A two-time World Championships finalist, Fernandez opened with 65.27m, his farthest throw in two years. The last to throw, Ortega ensued with a massive 66.30m, a Colombian record and only two centimetres shy of the South American record. Ortega backed it up with a 65.73m release in the fourth round, the fourth farthest throw of his career.

“I was competing with a friend and he pushed me to exceed my expectations,” said Ortega. “You can expect great things from Colombia at the Games.”

Venezuela’s Rosa Rodriguez claimed the first athletics gold with a 67.91m effort in the women’s hammer, an improvement from silver in 2010 and fourth in 2014.

Cuba’s Briander Rivero leads the decathlon after five events with 4179, 150 more than his compatriot, two-time world and Olympic medallist Leonel Suarez in his first decathlon in almost a year. 90 points separate third from fifth.

The second day of the tournament features eight finals, including 100m and 800m for both men and women. The local crowd’s attention will be focused on their local heroine, Olympic triple jump champion Catherine Ibarguen, who will contest the long jump final two days before her specialty event.

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Cuban Yarisley Silva Sixth in 5th Stop of Diamond League

Cuban female pole vaulter Yarelis Silva (World Champion in 2015 in Beijing and Olympic runner-up in London in 2012) ended in the 6th place in the competition in the Norwegian capital Thursday, in the 5th stop of the 2018 Diamond League.

Silva just could go over the height of 4.26 meters in her first appearance in the 2018 Diamond League, far away from the winner, US Sandra Morris, who ended with 4.81.

A silver medalist in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Morris won the competition, and added a total of 8 points, to complete 22, a number of points consolidating her as the leader in this event in the 2018 Diamond League.

Russian Anzhelika Zidorova, with 4.71 meters, and Swedish Angelica Bengtsson (4.61), completed the podium with their silver and bronze metals, respectively, for which they added seven and six units, in that order.

In the case of the Cuban athlete, she accumulated her first three points in the general table of the modality, because she had not been present in any of the two contests previously convened.

Before competing in Oslo, Silva, world indoor monarch in Sopot, Poland, in 2014, won last May the gold medal at the International Urban Pole Vault meeting, in Mexico City, where she reached the height of 4.70 meters.

Colombian Caterine Ibargüen, Olympic Champion of Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and universal holder in Moscow 2013 and Beijing 2015, won the triple jump, with a record of 14.89 meters, to stay ahead in the general classification, ahead of Tori Franklin (US, 14.57) and Jamaican Kimberly Williams (14.50).

Ibargüen came from winning without difficulties in Shanghai (China), with a jump of 14.80 meters, which gives confidence to face a new season in the Diamond League, in which she could not be in first place last year.

The Diamond League will count this year on 12 qualifying rallies for the final, which will have two chapters in the cities of Zurich and Brussels on August 30 and 31.
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Ibarguen and Silva Main Latin Stars for Next Stop

Colombian female triple jumper and Cuban pole vaulter Yarisley Silva are the main Latin American stars to compete in the next stop (the 5th) of the Diamond League in the Norwegian capital.

The competition will take place on June 7, at the Bislett Stadium in Oslo, with the participation of another 7 Latin American athletes.

Ibarguen, 2016 Olympic Champion in Rio, will have American Tori Franklin, leader of the current season with a jump of 14.84 meters, as well as Olga Rypakova (Kazahstan) and Olha Saladukha (Ukraine) as main contenders.

Ibarguen leads the classification for the title with eight points after winning the match in Shanghai on May 12.

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Ibarguen leads the classification for the title with eight points

Cuban Yarisley Silva will also have a tough opposition in the pole vault, an event in which Americans Sandi Morris and Katie Nageotte stand out as candidates for the title, while the rest of the Latin American delegation that will participate in the 5th stop in Oslo, will be Bahaman Donald Thomas in high jump and Jamaican Kimberly Williams in the triple jump.

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Cuban Yarisley Silva tries to rebound this Summer Season in the Pole Vault

Trinitarian Khalifa St. Fort and Michelle-Lee Ahye are registered to compete in the 100 flat meters, with masculine comrade Jereem Richards in the 200 flat meters and Brazilian Thiago Do Rosario Andre to compete in the 1,600 meters.

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