Elena Isinbayeva of Russia clears the bar in the women’s pole vault final during the world indoor athletics championships at the Atakoy Athletics Arena in Istanbul March 11, 2012. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)
By Tom Pilcher
(Reuters) – Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, chasing her third straight Olympic gold medal at the London Games this year, says the strain of training will force her to retire in two years.
“When I’m on the track, I always think, oh my goodness it’s so easy. Why can’t it be all the time the same. But once I get off the podium, I was like ‘oh, I’m too tired for the training’,” the 29-year-old told the Laureus website (www.laureus.com).
“I decide that another two years and then I will retire. Training becomes difficult…every year the body is getting old it becomes harder and harder to prepare for the competition. I enjoy competition more than training.”
Isinbayeva’s will to win was on display last month at the world indoor championships in Istanbul, where she claimed a fourth title and her first major victory since her Beijing gold in 2008.
Isinbayeva’s confidence is definitely back if her pre-Olympics talk is anything to go by.
“In London, my main competitors will be myself, because I know how high I can jump and I know that height is almost impossible for my rivals,” said the Russian, who holds the outdoor record of 5.06 metres.
“My coach says that my potential is 5.10 and higher, so that right now and with my present preparation, I am able to jump 5.10.
“I am not worrying about the Olympics. I am confident because I know that right now everything is fine in my life.”
Isinbayeva’s life has not always been rosy despite a bagful of records and high profile titles.
Plagued by injury, poor form and the ignominy of failing to register a height at the 2009 world championships, she took an 11-month break.
“I was tired from everything. My body, my mind was tired because I was almost 10 years competing at winter season and summer season. I decided to have some rest without competing, without training, without everything,” she said.
Isinbayeva is currently unbeaten in 2012 and set a world indoor record of 5.01 in Stockholm in February before she needed just two jumps to claim the world indoor title in Istanbul.
Her final goal outside another Olympic gold is to add to her 30 world records and possibly beat Ukraine’s Sergey Bubka’s mark of 35.
“Sergey was a role model. He was a star at the time I was starting,” she said of former Olympic and world champion Bubka.
“It was my goal from the beginning to set up 36 world records. This is still in my mind and now I feel that I can achieve it.”
After her loss of form that led to her break from competition, Isinbayeva returned to former mentor Yevgeny Trofimov having left Vitaly Petrov, a move she credits for her renewed confidence.
“To work again with Yevgeny was my best decision ever in my life, because I trust him,” she said.
“I grew up with him as a pole vaulter. He loves me like a daughter. I do not consider him just a coach. He is my coach, my friend, my second father. I trust him 100 percent.”