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Athletics | International

Yelena Isinbayeva © Gallo Images

Isinbayeva returns to former mentor Trofimov

Olympic champion and world pole vault record holder Yelena Isinbayeva has left coach Vitaly Petrov and returned to her former mentor Yevgeny Trofimov following a series of poor performances in the last two years.

"I've talked to Yelena on the phone and she told me that she had decided to return to (her native city) Volgograd and train with Trofimov," Russia's athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichyov was quoted as saying by local media.

"She told me she simply got tired living away from home. She had asked me for advice but it was her decision."

Isinbayeva parted company with Trofimov in 2005 after winning that year's world championships and becoming the first woman pole vaulter to break the five-metre barrier.

She soon joined Petrov, former coach of the great Ukrainian pole vaulter Sergei Bubka, at his training centre in Formia, Italy, and relocated to Monaco, hoping the move would help her to break more records.

The Russian was virtually unbeatable between 2003 and 2009, winning every major competition before suffering a shock defeat at the 2009 world outdoor championships in Berlin, where she failed to clear a height.

She took a break from the sport after failing to win a medal at last year's world indoor championships in Doha.

Isinbayeva made a comeback at a low-key indoor meeting in Moscow last month and was hoping to compete at this month's European indoor championships but was forced to pull out after falling ill.

"I was a bit surprised when she called and said she wanted to return," Trofimov, who had coached Isinbayeva since the age of 15 and said at the time that she had "simply betrayed" him, told internet site www.gazeta.ru.

"On the other hand, I felt she was missing something. I think she had tried to approach me last year but I didn't want to have any contact with her," he said.

"But when she called me this week and asked for forgiveness, I had a change of heart. I think she was seriously considering quitting the sport for good if I had turned her down."


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