Russian pole vaulter costs Australia 'up to $100,000'

In 2010, Australia thought they had bought a world-class pole vaulter, Sergey Kucheryanu.

However, the experiment failed and he ended up being a waste of up to $100,000 as he fled the country, News Limited reports.

The Russian athlete will now represent Russia at the London Olympics against Australia's defending champion Steve Hooker.

Two-and-a-half years ago Athletics Australia were successful in their request to the International Association of Athletics Federations and its Russian counterparts in bringing Kucheryanu to Australia to train at the West Australian Institute of Sport.

He was believed to be a pet project of Athletics Australia high performance manager Eric Hollingsworth.

"Sergey join group for few month. He came with wife and a daughter but moved back to Russia for the family reason," said Alex Parnov, the man who coached Kucheryanu during his time in Australia.

"WAIS gave him full support while he stayed in Oz," he said.

The plan was to have Kucheryanu become an Australian citizen in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Kucheryanu's wife and child also made the journey to Australia, the move costing approximately $50,000 to $100,000 in cash.

At the time it sounded like a bright idea as the Russian joined Olympic champion Steve Hooker at his training group in Perth.

Seven months after arriving in Australia and training under Alex Parnov, Kucheryanu fled Australia for his homeland.

"I'm told we put no money into him (Kucheryanu) at all. We don't fund any athlete who is ineligible to compete for Australia. He was not on a full scholarship at WAIS" said Athletics Australia board member and spokesman Matthew Mahon.

It's understood there was uncertainty as to whether or not Kucheryanu would become an Australian citizen in time for the Olympic Games.

Kucheryanu has been named in the Russian team to compete at London.