Cheboksary (Russia): Pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva had nearly abandoned all hope of ending her stellar career with a third Olympic gold in Rio, saying she would hang up her spikes at a far less glamourous event on the banks of the Volga.
Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva competes during the National Athletics Championship in Cheboksary, Russia on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
But the International Olympic Committee's announcement on Tuesday that Russian athletes, who are individually screened by world athletics governing body, IAAF, might be allowed to compete in Rio under Russia's flag, has revived the two-time Olympic champion's Rio dreams.
"Today I have to admit that deep down there is hope. It hasn't died completely. Now it means that the end of my career, I hope, will be in Rio. I was desperate yesterday, but I'm very optimistic today," Isinbayeva (34) told reporters after winning the Russian championship in Cheboksary with a 4.90-metre vault.
Isinbayeva celebrated her national championship victory with a backflip on the landing area in what was her first official competition since 2013 after giving birth to a daughter in 2014.
Russia's pole vault star had said that Tuesday's national championship final in Cheboksary — a Volga port city some 650 kilometres east of Moscow — would be the last track and field meet of her professional career if she could not compete in Rio.
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