Sergei Bubka of the Soviet Union pole vaulted 19 feet 0 3/4 inches at the Bally Invitational track meet today.

He missed three times at 19-5 3/4, and he undoubtedly missed being pressed by Billy Olson and Joe Dial, who did not compete. As it was, his brother Vasily was his closest competitor.

Olson had been scheduled to vault here but changed his mind, saying he was tired. He has vaulted higher than anyone else indoors, 19-5 1/2.

Dial arrived, but his poles didn't. He had the same problem Friday in New York at the Millrose Games. He borrowed a pole Friday but didn't today.

Bubka missed badly twice at 19-5 3/4, but came close on a third try. He cleared 19-0 3/4 on his third try at that height.

"I'm not quite used to the surface," he said. "The runway was too short for me and kept me from setting the new world record." The runway here is wooden; most international meets have Tartan runways.

Vasily Bubka finished second and American Dave Volz third. Both vaulted 18-4 3/4.

Sergei Bubka, Dial and Olson are scheduled to compete at the Los Angeles Times meet Friday.

Other events today were minor by comparison. The best track event was the 50-meter hurdles, won by Olympic silver medalist Greg Foster in 6.37 seconds. Runner-up Mark McKoy did it in 6.38.

Foster, who hurt a hip at the Millrose Games Friday, had more trouble today. Andre Phillips spiked his hand at the start of the final. Still bleeding after the race, Foster said only: "I have a very high pain tolerance."

Gayle Watkins of the Southern California Cheetah team beat defending champion Stephanie Hightower in the women's 50-meter hurdle final, and Chandra Cheesborough won the women's 50-meter dash.

Jackie Joyner long jumped 21-10, best among the women.