Legendary Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva has praised the organization of the Confederations Cup, but has promised to “surprise” visitors with an even better World Cup next year.
“We hosted everyone at a very high level and I hope that when the fans leave our country, they will keep those thoughts until next year, and we will surprise them even more with the World Cup,” Isinbayeva told RT ahead of the final of the Confederations Cup between Germany and Chile in St. Petersburg.
Isinbayeva, who set 17 world records and won two Olympic Golds, at Athens 2004, and in Beijing four years later, is an official World Cup ambassador, who will represent her home city of Volgograd, one of the host cities of next year’s tournament.
Isinbayeva, 35, says that the Western media coverage of the Confed Cup has been pleasingly positive.
“Of course, we like good reactions from the press – it is important, as they show the world who we are and what we are doing here, so it’s a big achievement for us,” said Isinbayeva, who retired from athletics last year. “We welcome everyone in our country.”
Isinbayeva hopes that Russia, which crashed out at the group stage of the Confederations Cup this year, will do better in 12 months’ time, but says that even if not, the legacy provided by hosting should give Russian football a future advantage.
“The World Cup is giving us a huge push for development, and the football in our country will be better than before. We have beautiful stadiums, and we are nurturing our football players – we are creating new football schools, though of course it is a huge task.”