Reigning world pole vault record holder and Olympic gold medallist Sergei Bubka will make a two-day visit to Sri Lanka early next month, the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) confirmed yesterday.
The undisputed former Ukrainian world champion, who is due to arrive in Colombo via Singapore on May 7, will be the chief guest at the inaugural Kids Athletic Championships to be worked off at the newly constructed Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Diyagama, Homagama on May 8.
It will be a tremendous boost for Sri Lanka track and field to have the renowned athlete here, following the IAAF President Lamine Diak’s tour here last year. Bubka, who has shown a keen interest in promoting athletics among children, has accepted the local invitation to be the chief guest at the meet, jointly conducted by the AASL and the Ministry of Education.
During his stay in Sri Lanka, Bubka is scheduled to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was the AASL President in 1997. “Bubka is keen to meet President Rajapaksa who is the only former national association president of an IAAF member country to become a Head of State,” an official of the AASL said.
Bubka, who’s record leap of 6.14m in Sestriere in July 1994 still stands as the world record, has shown a keen interest in promoting track and field around the globe, establishing his own trust fund to help the needy.
As the current Senior Vice President of the IAAF, Bubka has played a prominent role in promoting athletics around the world. He is strongly tipped to be the next President of the world athletic governing body – IAAF.
Born on December 4, 1964 in Voroshilovgrad, Ukraine, Bubka had been a sprinter and a long jumper during the early years of his career. But he became a household name in the business when he switched to pole vaulting.
A virtually unknown Bubka came to limelight bagging the gold medal of his pet event at the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland in 1983. Ever since, he had gone from strength to strength, to become the undisputed pole vault champion in world sports history. Due to his ever-growing popularity, pole vault was named as Sergei Bubka event, which underlines the volumes of control he had during his day.
Bubka first became the world champion in May 1984, clearing 5.85m. A week later, he improved his new world mark to 5.88 and then to 5.90m a month later. He became the first man to break the six-metre barrier in pole vault on 13 July 1985 in Paris. There was hardly any athlete to challenge Bubka’s dominance during the next ten years until his retirement in 2001.
The Ukrainian won the IAAF World Championship pole vault gold medals on six successive occasions from 1983 to 1997. He won the gold medal of his pet event at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
What is unique in Bubka illustrious career is that he had been able to break the world record for men’s pole vaulting a total of 35 times in his career. He had broken the outdoor world record 17 times and the indoor world record on 18 occasions.
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