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Yelena Isinbayeva ignites World Championships with pole vault gold

updated 5:28 PM EDT, Tue August 13, 2013
Golden girl: Yelena Isinbayeva celebrates her victory in the World Championship pole vault in Moscow.
Golden girl: Yelena Isinbayeva celebrates her victory in the World Championship pole vault in Moscow.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Yelena Isinbayeva wins women's pole vault at world championships
  • First global success for Russian since 2008 Olympics
  • LaShawn Merritt takes men's 400m gold with storming run
  • Aman breaks Ethiopian gold drought with 800m win

(CNN) -- The darling of the Russian crowd duly delivered Tuesday to regain her status as the leading women's pole vaulter in the world.

Yelena Isinbayeva shrugged off five years of disappointments in global competition to return to the top of the podium, roared on by partisan home support in the Luzhniki Stadium.

Not even Usain Bolt and his 100m heroics could capture the imagination as surely as Isinbayeva, the four-day old championships, marked by sparse attendances, finally springing fully to life.

The noise reached a fever pitch when the 31-year-old successfully cleared 4.89m while America's 2012 Olympic champion Jennifer Suhr and Cuban Yarisley Silva both failed at that height. Suhr claimed the silver at 4.82m on count back.

Read: Bolt reclaims world 100m title

But all eyes were left on Isinbayeva, who made three unsuccessful attempts to break her own world record of 5.06m. It was her third world championship title in the discipline.

She had dominated the event with Olympic golds in Athens 2004 and the 2008 Games in Beijing, setting 28 world records indoor and outdoor.

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Her golden run came to abrupt end at the 2009 World Championships and at Daegu two years ago she finished a lowly sixth.

Bronze behind Suhr in the London Games last year was also a disappointment, but she has now gained redemption on home soil.

"It was the best ever support," said Isinbayeva, who will now to take a break from the sport to have a baby, but is hoping to return for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

"I felt like I was at home, that everyone was behind me. I absorbed that and it resulted in a gold," she added.

The crowd were also treated to an array of competitive finals and a big shock as Grenada's Olympic champion Kirani James slumped to 400m defeat to LaShawn Merritt of the United States.

Read: Fraser-Pryce fastest woman on the planet

James could not match the power of Merritt and faded to seventh in the home straight as the 2008 Olympic champion crossed the line in a season's best 43.74 seconds.

Teammate Tony McQuay ran a fine 44.40 seconds for silver with Luquelin Santos of the Dominican Republic in third.

"It just didn't work out for me today," admitted the 20-year-old James, who was defending his title won in Daegu two years ago.

Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha was missing from the event he has made his own, breaking his own world record on the way to gold in London last year.

Read: Star sprinter Baptiste comes under doping spotlight

In his absence, Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia charged through to claim his country's first global crown at the two-lap event.

He eased past American Nicky Symmonds to win in one minute 43.31 seconds with Ayanleh Souleiman claiming bronze for Djibouti.

Ukraine's Ganna Melnichenko won the women's heptathlon after holding off a determined challenge from Canada's Brianne Theisen Eaton, who is the wife of newly-crowned world decathlon champion Ashton Eaton of the United States.

She needed to beat Melnichenko by a healthy margin in the closing 800m event, but could not pull ahead by the 4.69 seconds required and had to settle for silver.

Isinbayeva's gold was the second of the day for the hosts after Olympic champion Elena Lashmanova crossed the line first in the women's 20km walk.

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