Pole vault winner Konstadinos Filippidis at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot (© Getty Images)
In a men’s pole vault competition sans Renaud Lavillenie, one vaulter rose above the rest. Konstadinos Filippidis progressed through the final with no failures until the winning height of 5.80m, winning the world indoor title with a season’s best.
The 27-year-old has never before won a global medal at the junior or senior level, but that hasn’t been due to lack of trying. He was fourth at both the 2003 World Youth and 2004 World Junior Championships and has competed at three World Championships and three World Indoor Championships with his best placing, fourth, coming at the 2010 World Indoors.
Keeping a clean record was crucial today with all three medallists clearing 5.80m. Pre-competition favourite Malte Mohr failed for the first time at the winning height 5.80m, but a second-time clearance did not help him further as all three were unable to clear the next height, 5.85m. The 27-year-old German cleared 5.90m in Berlin a week ago and won the silver at World Indoors in 2010.
Another first-time medallist is 25-year-old Czech Jan Kudlicka, who set a personal best with a 5.80m clearance to add three centimetres to his previous best of 5.77m from the 2013 Czech Championships. The Prague athlete was eighth at the Olympics in 2012 and seventh in Moscow at the 2013 World Championships.
Two more athletes were extremely close to the medals with Brazilian Thiago Braz Da Silva clearing 5.75m with his second attempt for the fourth place. The 20-year-old also came close to a 5.80m clearance and was just one centimetre off his personal best set this winter.
Another young vaulter, 22-year-old Xue Changrui, also vaulted 5.75m for fifth. The Chinese also has a 5.76m PB from earlier this season and was really close to his best here. The Shandong athlete had problems at the start of the competition, clearing the first two heights with his final try.
Robert Sobera of Poland was sixth with 5.65m and another Brazilian Augusto De Oliveira seventh with a 5.65m season’s best. Briton Luke Cutts also jumped 5.65m for eighth place.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF