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Isinbayeva soars to new world best

LONDON, England -- Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia broke her own women's world pole vault record at a Grand Prix meeting in Gateshead, England on Sunday.

Isinbayeva added one centimetre to the record of 4.86m she set in Budapest in March this year.

American superstar Marion Jones, under the spotlight in the BALCO drugs controversy, finished second in the women's long jump to Tatyana Lebedva of Russia.

But it was the performance of 22-year-old Isinbayeva that captured the crowd's imagination on a blustery afternoon, hardly ideal for pole vaulting.

Clearly Isinbayeva has a liking for the stadium as she had set a then world record of 4.82m at the same meeting last year.

"I like Gateshead because this is the first place I jumped a world record," Isinbayeva said.

"I prepared for this. This is not a surprise, it is normal for me."

Isinbayeva set the previous record at the World Indoor Championships, but the sport's governing body IAAF now combines indoor and outdoor world records in this event.

Jones, who has protested her innocence to any involvement with doping, received a warm reception from the Gateshead crowd, but failed to sparkle in the long jump.

Her best of 6.77 meters was 10 centimeters behind winner Lebedeva.

Jones admitted afterwards that the accusations, were distracting her as she prepares for the US Olympic Trials which begin in Sacramento on July 9.

"Off the track it is definitely a distraction. It is unfortunate that I am having to deal with this right now but I hope I will get through it and I will be OK," Jones said.

"I am confident that I will make the US trials and I will be in Athens. I have done everything asked of me (including a lie detector test which proved negative) and I'm just going to train and make this Olympic team."

The once invincible Jones, 28, finished fifth in a 100m race last week and this latest defeat will add to fears she is currently unable to concentrate on her training.

But she said: "I'm not panicking. Overall I feel pretty good."

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