Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva showed she was back to her best with an indoor world record of 5.01m to win the event at the XL Galan indoor meet in Stockholm by 29cm on Thursday.
The Russian, who has struggled with form and injury for the past couple of years, bettered her previous world indoor mark by 1cm, leaving British Olympic hope Holly Bleasdale a distant second with a best clearance of 4.72m.
Cuba’s Dayron Robles powered to victory in the 60m hurdles after rival Liu Xiang was disqualified for a false start.
Liu, the 2004 Olympics high hurdles champion, jumped the gun having already stood up from the blocks once when he was unsettled by the noise of the crowd. The Chinese athlete, immediately left the track, not waiting for confirmation of the disqualification.
Liu’s absence left Robles the clear favorite and he cruised home ahead of compatriot Orlando Ortega in a time of 7.66 seconds after slowing over the final 10m.
Robles had lost to Liu in Birmingham last weekend in the pair’s first meeting since the Cuban was disqualified for obstructing his rival during the final of the 110m hurdles at last year’s world championships.
Isinbayeva was virtually unbeatable in the pole vault between 2003 and 2009 and after seasons of disappointment has now announced her return to form in Olympic year.
“This was my night and my body answered ‘yes,’” said Isinbayeva, who also holds the outdoor world record of 5.06m. “I just jumped. I just enjoyed the competition, I enjoyed my performance.”
“That was the real comeback,” added the 29-year-old, whose last major title was at the 2008 Olympics. “My coach has helped me realize that this is my real level, not lower.”
Asked whether anyone else could beat her this year, Isinbayeva said: “I think you can answer that question yourself,” in reference to her winning margin of 29cm.
“Next time I’ll get them to raise the bar by 3[cm] or 4cm instead of just 1[cm],” she added.
On a good night for the Russians, Anna Chicherova won the women’s high jump, clearing 2m.
Local favorite Emma Green Trergaro could only manage a disappointing 1.91m, leaving Emma Jungmark to keep the Swedish flag flying as she took second place on countback from Belgium’s Tia Hellebaut, both clearing 1.94m.