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September 27, 2000

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Bubka fails to make final

World pole vault record holder Sergei Bubka failed on Wednesday to qualify for the Olympic men's final, missing three times at his opening height of 5.70 metres.

The 36-year-old Ukrainian, increasingly injury-prone in recent years, did not enter the qualifying round until 3- hours into the competition.

After generous applause from a crowd privileged to watch the greatest pole vaulter in history, Bubka began but did not complete the first of his three attempts.

On his second attempt his approach looked laboured and, although he rose above the bar, he brought it down with his body.

His third attempt also brought down the bar and Bubka left an Olympic arena for the last time.

Bubka set 17 world records including the first vault above six metres. He won six world titles in a row but had a chequered Olympic career.

He was denied the chance of competing at the 1984 Los Angeles Games because of a boycott by the Soviet Union and its allies.

In 1988 he won his only Olympic gold in Seoul with his final attempt. Four years later in Barcelona, he failed to record a height in the final and at the 1996 Atlanta Games, he withdrew from the final because of an inflamed right Achilles.

After a late start this season because of further injury problems, Bubka had a miserable European season, consistently failing to make his opening height.

He has always wanted to add a further Olympic gold to his collection and said before the Games began, that Sydney would be his final major competition.

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