Yelena Isinbayeva, the greatest woman pole vaulter of all time, thrilled a partisan home crowd roaring her every jump when she landed the third and probably last world title of her illustrious career on Tuesday.
The Russian, twice Olympic champion and world outdoor record holder, was the only vaulter to clear 4.89 metres.
It was a season’s best leap for the 31-year-old, the first woman to clear the revered five metres barrier, who said before the championships that she would retire.
American Olympic champion Jenn Surh took silver and Cuban Yarisley Silva bronze. Both failed at 4.89 after clearing 4.82.
After a nervous start when she failed with her first attempt after entering the competition at 4.65, a measure of her confidence with her rivals already up and running, Isinbayeva grew in stature.
With a chorus of “Yelena Yelena” reverberating around the Luzhniki stadium, the biggest crowd of a poorly attended championships so far, each clearance was greeted by a cacophony of approval.
Isinbayeva rewarded the support with punches in the air and squeals of delight. When gold was assured she ran to the crowd and embraced her coach.
Milking the moment and urging the crowd to raise the decibel level further, she asked for the bar to be raised to 5.07, one centimetre above the world record she set in 2009.
Three unsuccessful attempts followed but it could not spoil the former gymnast’s celebrations as she set off for a lap of the track which featured a cartwheel and back-flip.
Aman on top
Mohammed Aman was outmuscled and jostled, but belied his diminutive size to produce a devastating sprint and claim a first-ever medal of any colour for Ethiopia in the world 800m by winning gold.
The two-lap event had sadly been shorn of the sublime talents of the injured David Rudisha, the Kenyan who broke the world record in winning the Olympic title last year.
But, in his absence, Aman, the 19-year-old world indoor champion who has twice got the better of Rudisha, stepped into the void with some style.
American Nick Symmonds held on for silver in 1:43.55, with a fast-advancing Ayanleh Souleiman claiming bronze in 1:43.76, a first medal for Djibouti since Ahmed Salah won silver in the marathon in the 1991 Tokyo worlds.
In other results, LaShawn Merritt annihilated the 400m field, including defending champion Kirani James of Grenada, to reclaim the world title. The American pulled away from the pack early to win by more than half a second.
American teammate Tony McQuay earned silver in 44.40, and Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic took bronze in 44.52.
And finally Kenyan Milcah Chemos won the women’s 3000m steeplechase title.