Li Ling, winner of the pole vault at the IAAF Continental Cup, Marrakech 2014
This was Fabiana Murer’s third attempt to land the top prize at the IAAF Continental Cup or World Cup.
The 33-year-old Brazilian finished runner-up to world record-holder Yelena Isinbayeva in Athens in 2006 and third behind Svetlana Feofanova and Lisa Ryzih in Split in 2010.
The 2011 world champion started clear favourite in Marrakech, having registered the three highest clearances in the world this year – 4.80m, 4.76m and 4.72m – and especially after Olympic champion Jenn Suhr was a mid-week withdrawal as her Americas team partner.
Sadly for Murer, it was not to be once again.
Murer played a cool hand, sitting out the competition until the bar had been raised to 4.45m. At that stage, five other vaulters were still in contention and the risk factor was underlined when the Brazilian dislodged the bar with her first attempt.
She did so again with her second and third attempts, failing to clear a height for the second time in four competitions, having done so at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham three weeks ago.
Two of Murer’s rivals managed clearances at 4.45m – Asia-Pacific’s Li Ling and Europe’s Angelina Zhuk-Krasnova.
Li, the Chinese National Games champion, proceeded to nail 4.55m at the third attempt, while Zhuk-KJrasnova, the Russian who took European bronze in Zurich last month, suffered three failures.
Li raised the bar to 4.66m, one centimetre higher than her Asian record, but was unable to rise to the challenge.
Third place in the modest contest was shared by Australia’s Commonwealth champion Alana Boyd of Asia-Pacific and Germany’s European representative Lisa Ryzih, courtesy of second-time clearances at 4.30m.
Simon Turnbull for the IAAF