PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil – Fabiana Murer, who holds 19 South American records in the pole vault, ended the indoor season by becoming the country’s first woman to win the gold medal at the world championships in an individual event when she cleared 4.8 meters in Doha, Qatar, in March.
Fabiana Murer owns the South American record for the highest indoor vault (4.82 meters) and outdoor vault (4.85 meters), finishing 10th at the Beijing Games in 2008.
The 29-year-old, who represents one of the country’s best hopes at the 2012 Olympics in London, England, recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Infosurhoy.com.
Infosurhoy.com: How was your training with Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov?
Fabiana Murer: It was very important to make contact with Vitaly Petrov and learn from him. Near the end of 2001, he came to Brazil and started teaching his technique to me. I believed in that work and it completely changed the way I was pole vaulting. Everything was completely different. It took two years to adapt, which was hard, but after that I started seeing results.
Infosurhoy.com: What is your goal in the pole vault? Is it clearing five meters?
Fabiana Murer: Yes, I want to reach the five-meter mark. I believe it’s possible to reach this mark from next year on. I also want to arrive in London with real chances of winning a medal, but to do so, I need to keep on training hard and improve my results.
Infosurhoy.com: You won gold at the world championships, and Maurren Maggi became the country’s first female Olympic gold medalist when she won the long jump at the Beijing Games. How has women’s athletics in Brazil become more competitive on the international level?
Fabiana Murer: I think the [athletes] in most technical sports have been achieving better results, that is, thanks to the coaches who created their training methods, which are really working. We also have more women practicing sports, and consequently, women are achieving more success.
Infosurhoy.com: You and Maurren Maggi are considered the “muses” of Brazilian athletics. Thoughts?
Fabiana Murer: Of course it’s nice to hear that, but what I’m really interested in is jumping and showing my work.
Infosurhoy.com: What’s the state of Brazilian athletics?
Fabiana Murer: Brazilian athletics is progressing and I want to improve. The Brazilian Confederation (of Athletics) is doing a good job, giving particular attention to the youngest athletes. As we’re going to host the Olympic Games (in 2016), it’s important to invest in exchanging experiences, which is happening, but we still need more good places to train.
Infosurhoy.com: Can Brazil reach the same level as the United States?
Fabiana Murer: I think it’s difficult for Brazil to become a great power in athletics. In the U.S.A., playing sports is very much encouraged at the [grade] school and college levels, which doesn’t happen here.
Infosurhoy.com: What does Brazil need to do to make that happen?
Fabiana Murer: We need more public spaces for sports, coaches with training background and sports activities in schools. Brazil has many talented people and if we have more people training, we’ll have more chances of having elite athletes.
Fabiana de Almeida Murer
- ::Place of birth: Campinas, São Paulo
- ::Birthday: March 16, 1981
- ::Height/Weight: 5-feet-7, 126 pounds
- ::Leader of Diamond League with gold medal, Monaco Grand Prix, 4.8 meters (2010)
- ::Gold medal at International Association of Athletics Federations World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, 4.8 meters (2010)
- ::Gold medal, Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix, England, 4.82 meters (2010)
- ::Bronze medal at the World Athletics Indoor Championships, Valencia, Spain, 4.7 meters (2008)
- ::Gold medal, Rio Pan-American Games (2007), when she broke the competition’s record with a leap of 4.6 meters
- ::Owns fourth-highest outdoor and indoor pole vaults in history, with marks of 4.85 at Ibero-American Championships in June and 4.82 at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix this past February