Isinbayeva rewarded for a career sprinkled with gold

Isinbayeva
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Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia was recognised with the Distinguished Career Award at the IAAF World Athletics Gala.

Yelena Isinbayeva was honoured at the IAAF World Athletics Gala in Monte Carlo on Saturday night with the Distinguished Career award - and promised to return in 2016 as Olympic champion again.

It was another memorable evening for the brilliant Russian pole vaulter who this summer regained the gold medal after winning the pole vault at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

And as she took to the stage at the gala, she reaffirmed her plans to aim for glory at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Isinbayeva, 31, said, "I am really looking forward to coming back here on this stage in 2016 but as the best female of the year.

"I have made a decision - after the birth of my baby - to try to get my third Olympic gold medal from Rio."

Isinbayeva is not pregnant but plans to take time out of the sport to start a family before returning in 2016 with the hope of adding to her Olympic successes from Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.

The award was in recognition of her amazing career which saw her first win a major international gold with victory at the World Youth Championships in Bydgoszcz in 1999.

Since then she has won 14 gold medals at the major championships.

They are made up of two Olympic titles (2004, 2008), three world titles (2005, 2007, 2013), four world indoor titles (2004, 2006, 2008, 2012), one European Athletics title (2006), one European indoor title (2005), a European under-23 title (2003), a world junior title (2000) and a European junior title (2001).

She talked of Moscow as being "the best" for her.

The memories will never go away for Isinbayeva who took the world title for the first time since Osaka six years ago with her vault of 4.89m which brought amazing scenes of celebration in the Luzhniki Stadium in front of her home fans who had constantly chanted her name.

Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were crowned as the IAAF Athletes of the Year after both winning three gold medals each in Moscow - in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay.

But it was a good night for European athletes who made the short lists of three for the main awards, with Ukraine's high jump world champion Bohdan Bondarenko and Great Britain's world 5,000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah among the main contenders for the men's title.

Czech Republic's 400m hurdles world champion Zuzana Hejnova was in the running for the women's award along with New Zealand's shot put world champion Valerie Adams.

There was further reward for the Farah 'team,' though, in the shape of Alberto Salazar who won the IAAF Coaching Achievement Award.

Salazar has transformed Farah’s career, guiding the Briton to three world titles and his double Olympic glory.

Ahead of the awards ceremony itself, in Monaco, Teddy Tamgho revealed his thoughts about aiming for the triple jump world record next year after his glory in Moscow.

Frenchman Tamgho won gold at the World Championships with a leap of 8.04m, making him only the third man to smash the eight metre barrier.

Jonathan Edwards' world record of 18.29m has stood since the 1995 World Championships in Göteborg and Tamgho said, “I do think about the world record. People are always asking me about it.

"My big foul in Moscow, just 1.6 centimetres, was slightly over the world record, so maybe getting the world record is just a case of maturity and improving physically.

"Next year I am looking at the European Athletics Championships and winning the Diamond League.

"There’s the World Indoor Championships as well and if I go, I’ll go to win. I say if, but if  I am fully healthy, it will be difficult not to go there.”