3 Dec 2010

Russian pole vault champion impresses FIFA with girl power appeal

7:20 am on 3 December 2010

A presentation by the pole vaulting legend Yelena Isinbayeva may have been influential in Russia's successful bid to host the 2018 World Cup football finals.

The holder of 27 world records was one of only a handful of women to speak in Zurich at final presentations to back bids to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and she thanked FIFA for doing so much for female athletes, with football the fastest growing womens sport in the world.

The film Russia showed to the 22 members of the FIFA executive was also unusual in featuring a girl with the ball, rather than the boys featured in most of the other bids.

Qatar won the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup finals becoming the first country in the Middle East to stage a major global sporting event.