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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2005, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Mononen is poles apart
By Chris Charles

Matti Mononen
Mononen attempts another vault
A Finnish pole-vaulter brought chaos to the World Athletics Championships on Tuesday with a string of crazy antics.

Matti Mononen may have looked like Johnny Rotten but he behaved more like hapless sitcom star Frank Spencer.

Mononen jumped the wrong side of the bar, three feet under it - in fact anywhere but over it.

And when he finally got some height, he snapped off a piece of measuring equipment on his way back down, forcing the event to be suspended for an hour.

Pole vault legend Sergei Bubka was brought in to advise officials on how to solve the problem and eventually they reduced the qualifying mark to 5.60m.

Not that it made any difference to Mononen, who resumed his quest for glory with yet another failure - much to the delight of the crowd.

At one stage he acquired a partner in crime, Chinese vaulter Liu Feiliang, who landed on a plastic garden chair by the side of the track, breaking one of the legs, after his pole sprang back.

Mononen eventually bowed out to rapturous applause, but as he made his way out of the arena, you couldn't help but feel a little sorry for him.

Shaka Sola
Sola power: Shaka in action
Still, it could have been worse - at least he hadn't been run over by a truck.

Not since the one that hit him at Christmas anyway.

Over in the javelin, Shaka Sola was doing his best to upstage Mononen.

The big Samoan was supposed to be in the shot put competition but arrived too late and decided to try his hand at a different kind of throwing.

After an opening attempt of 38.31m, he improved to record a new personal best of 41.18m - less than half the distance managed by reigning world champion Sergey Makarov of Russia.

Luckily Sola saw the funny side, telling reporters: "You will not see me with a javelin again unless you come to Samoa and I catch you a fish."

They'd better hope he doesn't invite Mononen around to cook the chips.




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