23 mai, 2019

Rome: Clash Stefanidi vs Morris in Women's Pole Vault

  • Katerina Stefanidi at Weltklasse Zürich 2018 © Mark Shearman

The Golden Gala Pietro Mennea will be highlighted by a super pole vault competition. Rome native Sonia Malavisi will compete in front of her home fans: “I dreamt about competing at this meeting when I was a child”.

A special night for Sonia Malavisi. The local favorite of the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea will be Rome native and Fiamme Gialle team pole vaulter, who will jump in front of her home fans in her city. The 24-year-old athlete, who has moved to l’Avana since last Ottobre to be guided by Cuban coach Alexandre Navas, is set to give it everything in a competition, which features two of the best pole vaulters in the world: reigning Olympic, world and European champion Katerina Stefanidi and US Sandi Morris, one of the three jumpers in the world able to jump over the magic 5 meters barrier.

The world-class field with top rivals can offer an extra spur to Malavisi, who competed for the Italian team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. During the 2019 indoor season the pole vaulter, who was born and grew up in the Italian capital, jumped 4.50m in the qualifying round of the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow, just one centimeter off her career best of 4.51m set in Padua in 2016. Thanks to the support of her home fans she can start her tough climb to the World Championships in Doha.
“I AM LOOKING FORWARD” – “I dreamt about competing at the Golden Gala when I started my athletics career. For me it was even more important than the Olympic Games”, recalls Malavisi, who grew up in the quarter of San Paolo in Rome. “The fact that this meeting is held in my city and that I have always attended it as a spectator when I was a child, really thrills me. It will be my fourth competition at the Golden Gala and it means a lot at this moment. It’s the only competition where all my friends and relatives can come to support me, even more so that I spend almost the entire year away from home. It will be an even greater opportunity to make a very good competition and I am looking forward to jumping again on this runway”.

The pole vault battle goes beyond the clash between Stefanidi and Morris and is extended to other possible contenders like reigning European Indoor champion Anzhelika Sidorova, Beijing 2015 world champion Yarisley Silva, who is the training partner of Malavisi. The other athletes to watch  out are Great Britain’s Holly Bradshaw, Greece’s Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou, France’s Ninon Guillon-Romarin, Venezuela’s Robeilys Peinado. All these vaulters are able to vault very high over the bar. The support of the crowd in the Olympic Stadium can give wings to their favorite athlete.

Golden Gala Pietro Mennea