Isinbayeva to compete three times before London Games

Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia blows a kiss during the women’s pole vault final during the world indoor athletics championships at the Atakoy Athletics Arena in Istanbul, March 11, 2012. (REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

By John Mehaffey

LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) – Double Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva will compete three times before the London Olympics, starting with a meeting in Reims, France, on July 4, a source close to the Russian said on Friday.

The source said the world record holder would then compete in Sotteville, France, on July 10 and in Monaco 10 days later.

Meetings in Stockholm and Brussels after the July 27-Aug. 12 Games have yet to be confirmed.

Isinbayeva, 29, the first woman to clear five metres, won the Olympic title in Athens in 2004 and again in Beijing four years later.

She failed to clear a height at the 2009 Berlin world championships and, after finishing fourth at the world indoor championships the following year, took an 11-month break.

This year, Isinbayeva showed she was back to her best by setting a world indoor record of 5.01 metres in Stockholm and subsequently needed only two jumps to win the world indoor title in Istanbul.

She now plans to become the first woman to win three successive Olympic track and field gold medals and then possibly beat Ukrainian Sergei Bubka’s 35 world records. Isinbayeva has broken the women’s mark 30 times.

“Sergei was a role model, he was a star at the time I was starting,” Isinbayeva told the Laureus website ( this month.

“It was my goal from the beginning to set 36 world records. This is still in my mind and now I feel that I can achieve it.”

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