Can dicking around on the internet be considered investigative journalism?
Anyway, Sergei Bubka Jr seemed a strange choice of a wildcard for Doha so I decided to take a look into it.
Bubka, of course, is the son of the greatest pole vaulter of all time so “because of daddy” seemed a good place to start.
The initial hunch appears to correct. Bubka Sr is the Senior Vice President of the Internation Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) council.
Among three other vice-presidents currently elected to the council is one Brigadier Dahlan Al-Hamad, who was previously president of the awkwardly-named Qatari Association of Atheletics Federations.
I think we can safely assume then that Al-Hamad is a pretty big player in Qatari sport, and as a leading member of the military, Qatari society in general.
Bubka and Al-Hamad are also both members of a Monaco-based organisation called Peace and Sport so it appears that the pair move in pretty close circles.
Furthermore, while Bubka Sr has been a senior IAAF council member, Doha was the venue for the World Indoor Athletics Championships so he most likely has some pretty big sporting contacts in the country.
2 + 2 = ?
So basically if you suspected the young Ukrainian player got his chance in Qatar due to his dad, the chances are you were correct.
But in fairness to the player he justified the decision with an impressive 6-0 6-4 victory over an admittedly hopeless Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
It’s hard to see Bubka getting past Jo Wilfried Tsonga in round two but he certainly showed enough game to suggest he has the ability to eventually move out of daddy’s shadow and carve out a sporting legacy of his own.