Gallantly though she fought, that turned out a joust British sensation Holly Bleasdale couldn’t win again an imperious Yelena Isinbayeva fashioned out of her golden past as the Russian rocketed high into her own rarefied sphere over 5m and beyond reach.

Yelena Isinbayeva rises over a new world indoor record of 5.01m to dominate the women’s pole vault, with Holly Bleasdale a battling runner-up at 4.72m

Remarkably enough, the double Olympic champion took very much two and a half years to register a new entry into the world record books, a mighty second-time 5.01m, whereas she would set new milestones with a frequency reminiscent of great Michael Phelps in swimming only a few years ago, but that one may have been the one she has celebrated more wildly than any other in her career.

Maybe it wasn’t so much for the particular world record itself, or the win come to that, but more of confirming to herself that she has still got the touch and the magic to make things happen. As Steve Cram says, there is a finite peak spell of four-five years in any athlete’s career while afterwards one can still perform at high level but with the performance graph on a gradual decline.

So has ‘Isi’ returned to her very best and can she rebuild her fallen empire around her? That remains to be seen. Let’s not forget that her previous world record, the current outdoor mark of 5.06m, was set only days after non-heighting at the World Championships in Berlin 2009 so the next challenge for her will be to lay her demons to rest and mount a major podium for the first time since Beijing.

Bleasdale did pose questions on her, though, as she was the first to rise clear of 4.72m at the first time of asking and gain an edge, having put away the opening 4.52m earlier, where Isinbayeva needed a second effort to follow through, with Cuban Yarisley Silva grinding out a third-time clearance to remain alive in the contest.

The next height was to prove the turning-point, nevertheless, as the Russian sailed impressively over a SB of 4.82m first time out to turn things round and eventually claim the win as neither of her rivals could muster a response in their remaining attempts.

From there on, it came a matter of how high she could reach on the day and had to dig deep to turn equal to a world-leading 4.92m at the death before raising the bar further to that magical 5.01m, which she overcame in total elation.

Bleasdale was pleased to come runner-up out of such a high-calibre field and range again in the 4.70m territory, still tuning her gear in the background, while earning the scalps of Silva and former world champion Anna Rogowska (POL) – again – will provide a further mental boost before gunning for a medal and glory in Istanbul.

Joe Thomas turns on a searing last 200m to come fourth out of nowhere in a high class 800m won by sensational U20 Mohammed Aman

A stacked men’s 800m was shaping up to form until red-hot favourite Adam Kszczot suddenly ran out of legs around 120m out, having asserted himself at the top of the race, to go floundering along and chasing youngster Mohammed Amman (ETH), the ‘David’ who committed mighty David Rudisha to mortality last summer, pounced on the opening to surge round and away to a convincing victory in a fast 1:45.84, a superb follow-up to his Birmingham marginal winning.

Fellow Pole Marcin Lewandowski edged out Yuriy Borzakowski in the battle for the minor podium places in 1:46.02 to 1:46.19 as they swept past a hepless Kszczot and there emerged out of virtually nowhere a storming Joe Thomas to grab fourth and nearly catch the Russian former Olympic champion in a narrow PB of 1:46.33 in a surreal finish in the dying stages.

In fact, the young Welshman was in no man’s land and isolated deep at the back of a long strung-out field of seven even with 160m to go when he suddenly snapped out of there beyond Musaeb Balla (QAT) to blast round the track and Boaz Laland (KEN), despite having to move as wide as lane three, and come home like an express train.

“What might have been..” may have crossed his mind across the finish line and the blatant truth was that he could have even won that high-calibre affair had he gone earlier or been better positioned towards the bell. But maybe he wasn’t fully aware of his own form and was surprised himself by the force of his finish in the end.

At any rate, he does know where he is lying now, suggesting a time in the low 1:45 region is well on the cards, and he could turn a real menace when he steps on the track up against the top names in Istanbul. Britain haven’t won a medal since Tom McKean‘s golden display way back in 1993 but that drought could be about to end.

Andie Osagie was slightly disappointed to come second to Timothy Kitum in 1:47.14 to 1:46.81 in the B race but the 17-year-old Kenyan is no slouch by any means holding the fifth fastest time in the world with 1:45.96 (indoor best). The Briton, eighth in the global lists on 1:46.53, is a fierce finisher himself and could be well suited to the anticipated more tactical rounds in Turkey to do plenty of damage.

Kirani James nonchalantly stamps his authority on the men’s 400m in 45.52 secs

Veteran Yamile Aldama was another Brit to illustrate her podium credentials as she landed at a big SB and UKL of 14.44m in the second round to earn a sound third spot narrowly behind top Cuban Yargelis Savigne, second at 14.47m, while Ukrainian Olha Saladuha came away with a comprehensive win way out front at a new national indoor record of 14.79m, erasing outdoor world record holder Inesa Kravets‘s previous mark of 14.67m.

Aldama is no stranger to claiming medals at top level indoors having won two silvers and a bronze at World Championships in the past, spanning 1999 to 2006, and she looks to be hitting form at the right time by moving seventh in the global season’s charts.

By stark contrast, JJ Jegede‘s last-gasp bid for selection in the long jump met with misfortune as he tore his hamstring on his very opening attempt and had to pull out of the rest of the competition, nicked by local man Michel Torneus marginally shy of 8m at 7.99m (SB) as a mere centimetre separated the top three.

The Briton was on a high following his surprise win at the AVIVA Grand Prix and was looking to carve out a further 11cm on his equal PB of 8.04m to make the cut but it wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully, his injury won’t get in the way of his preparations for the Olympics in summer as he has shown potential to put in a good show there.

Helen Clitheroe got the quality sharpener she was looking for and a proper tonic after a below par display over 3000m in the Brum in a UK-leading 4:09.70 for sixth in a close order women’s 1500m where Moroccan Btissam Lakhouad squeezed out a narrow victory over U20 Ethiopian Tizita Bogale in 4:07.86 (iPB) to 4:07.88, with Morgan Uceny (USA) third slightly behind in 4:08.06 (SB).

New Jamaican big gun Patricia Hall convincingly conquered the women’s 400m heat in 51.66 secs (indoor best) ahead of top Russian campaigner Antonina Krivoshapka, 51.81 secs, to raise her profile further while Shana Cox made rather heavy going round the tight bends of the four-lane track to post 53.48 secs ahead of U23 Emily Diamond (54.08) in a nearly all-British secondary run.

In the men’s equivalent, Grenadian teenage sensation Kirani James weathered the early storm of old-hand Chris Brown in the first 200m to pour on the pace round the second lap to a commanding victory in 45.52 secs, the latter holding on to runner-up in 46.62, to underline his red-hot favourite rank to add the global indoor title to his credit.

Anna Chicherova clears 2m for a multiple time this season

World champion Anna Chicherova (RUS) kept on a rampage in the women’s high jump to maintain a clean sheet of 2m clearances or over through the season, making it five out of five outings this winter, which she ought to round off in style in Istanbul all things equal for a most daunting string.

If the men’s keenly anticipated 60m hurdles turned a let-down, Xiang Liu crashing out on a shock false-start and Dayron Robles still struggling to assert himself over a second-string line-up in 7.66 secs, the 3000m was brimming with top quality and pace as U20 Kenyan marvel Ismail Kirui saw off the challenge of Dejen Gebremeskiel (ETH) in 7:33.55 against 7:34.14 (PB) in an enthralling battle.

Augustine Choge was not far off behind in a swift 7:34.74 for third, Caleb Ndiku was fourth in 7:35.42, Thomas Longosiwa fifth in 7:37.07, all Kenyans, and Tariku Bekele mustered just sixth in 7:37.96 as an eight-strong group of runners ducked under 7:40 for a striking depth in the event.

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