Who needs Yelena Isinbayeva? Certainly not Anna Rogowska who beat the Russian pole vault star to win the world title in 2009 and today added the European indoor crown to her growing list of honours with a Polish record 4.85.
Rogowska’s winning vault put her equal on the world season lists with the world record holder, who could not compete in Paris due to illness, and moved into the top four all-time alongside Svetlana Feofanova.
It was a compelling display by the Polish champion, who also made three attempts at 4.91 to become the second best in history behind Isinbayeva. It wasn’t to be, but Rogowska was happy enough to be Poland’s first ever European indoor champion in this event.
“This is a perfect day for me,” said Rogowska. “I won the title with a new PB, which is also a national record indoor and outdoor.”
The 29-year-old was a worthy winner. Matched by her sometime training partner Silke Spiegelburg to 4.75, and pushed by the German to clear 4.80 and 4.85, Rogowska held her nerve and the 2009 silver medallist to be satisfied with that colour again in Paris.
Bronze also went to Germany as Kristina Gadschiew was the best of the rest at 4.65, 1cm below her best.
Only 24 hours earlier, Renaud Lavillenie was carried over 6.03 on the wave of a thunderous Parisian roar, but Rogowska’s moment of victory went by almost unnoticed as the French faithful had their attention directed elsewhere by the world record exploits of Teddy ‘the triple jump’ Tamgho.
Not that she seemed to mind. “In my mind, I had just one word: victory. I was focused on this goal, I didn't pay attention to the others girls,” she said.
As for Spiegelburg, she was overjoyed to be on the podium again after being too ill to compete at the German championships just a week ago.
“This silver medal means very much to me, more than the one I won two years ago in Turin,” she said. “I am so glad that after my break I could jump so well again today. Fortunately everything was still there.”
Gadschiew was just as pleased with bronze, saying: “This is unbelievable. Never in my life did I think about winning this medal. I have no idea how I did it, how I managed to jump so well today, why everything went so well for me.”
In qualifying Rogowska began at 4.45, tonight she chose to enter the action 10cm lower. Russia’s one representative here, Aleksandra Kiryashova, had one surprise fail at 4.35 but all eight finallists safely made their way to 4.50.
Rogowska herself had one unexpected failure at 4.60 where Minna Nikkanen carried on in the record-breaking form she displayed in the qualifiers setting yet another Finnish mark to go with her three from the qualifying round. In two days she’s pushed the naitonal record up by 40cm.
Spiegelburg’s first fail came at 4.65 and at that point Gadschiew was the only jumper with a clean record. But by then there were only the three medallists left.
Spiegelburg and Rogowska cleared first time at 4.70. Gadschiew failed but as as she was now sure of the bronze, she passed on to 4.75. That was where she bowed out, leaving the two friends to battle on for top honours.
Spiegelburg, who was jumping first, had a chance to put the pressure on. When she failed Rogowska had her chance to take the initiative but she wasn’t close either.
They both cleared on their second attempts and Rogowska finally took the lead when she soared above the bar first time at 4.80 – a text-book arching vault which the Pole celebrated with double clenched fists. It was enough.
Spiegelburg decided to push on up to 4.85, 9cm above her PB but it was 9cm too far.
Rogowska had the gold. Not that it was greeted with any great clamour from the crowd, for Teddy Tamgho had them distracted with the first of his world records.
But the world champion wasn’t done yet and with the crowd now refocused she sailed over 4.85 on her second attempt to get her due share of adulation. It was 4cm higher than her indoor PB. After winning silver in 2005 and bronze in Birmingham two years later, Rogowska finally had the gold.
“Now, I will think about jumping five metres, of course, but first I need to jump 4.90. That’s my new goal,” she said.