Dmitry Starodubtsev has soared over a massive PB of 5.90m in the pole vault, twice at that, to set up rumbles of thunder in the wee hours of the new indoor season, serving an early notice of what is to be anticipated into an Olympic season all-round.

The Russian, 26, first rose above what is the effective frontier into world class territory on home soil in Chelyabinsk on 17 December, shattering his total best of 5.75m from the previous Olympic season in 2008, and went on to tie his feat on his very next outing in the same place twelve days later.

A world U20 champion back in 2004, he has struggled to make headway through the senior ranks, notwithstanding a fifth place in Beijing, and endured a quiet final in last place (12th) in Daegu last summer, where the main ground for scraping a mention was probably being one of the two finalists that had their poles snapped.

All the same, it appears now that he could be coming of age and poised to finally make his mark on the global stage, a welcome breeze stirring again within the famous Russian pole vault school. Despite an imposing presence in the event before the millenium, they have failed to put up a consistent top performer on the big scene in recent years and the likes of Maksim Tarasov look ages behind anymore.

No doubt, such a performance streak at this very early stage could make for a tricky situation too. There is a long way to go as far as London is concerned and one may well wonder how much margin for improvement is there left into this season having already ramped up his game by a huge 15cm. At any rate, the consisteny looks to be there as a quality and trait of his and form books will show that he has moved within 5.70 and 5.75m in all but one season during the previous five years.

In the wider picture, the Russian’s early breakthrough looks to blow the competition for medals in London open wider particularly at a time that great reigning champion Steve Hooker (AUS) is restructuring his competitive model very much from scratch, leaving himself more vulnerable, and Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) hasn’t quite made his heights count on the big occasion.

That nearly ‘insane’ final in Daegu a few months ago simply illustrated how delicate is the balance in the top drawer of the men’s pole vault at the moment where anyone between six-seven vaulters could grab the spoils on his day. After all, the record shows that ‘leap’ years seem to inspire Starodubtsev…

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