Report27 Feb 2021

Lavillenie vaults 6.06m in Aubiere, his best clearance since 2014


Renaud Lavillenie in action in Clermont-Ferrand (© Jean-Pierre Durand)

France’s 2012 Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie produced his best vault for more than seven years by clearing 6.06m at the All Star Perche meeting in Aubiere – the final World Athletics Indoor Tour fixture of 2021 – on Saturday (27).

The day had started over in New Zealand with Valerie Adams producing her best form for nearly five years, and it ended in France with her fellow 2014 World Athlete of the Year Renaud Lavillenie also turning back the clock The last time Lavillenie vaulted higher was when he set the former world record of 6.16m in 2014.

The 34-year-old made easy work of his first two vaults, going over 5.70m and 5.86m on his first attempts. Younger brother Valentin and 20-year-old Ethan Cormont, also of France, exited the competition at 5.86m, both having cleared 5.80m, a PB for the latter.

USA’s Chris Nilsen got over 5.86m on his third attempt but bowed out with three misses at 5.96m. Menno Vloon, meanwhile, was successful at that height on his third attempt, adding 15 centimetres to his own Dutch indoor record.

The bar moved up to 6.01m, a height which Lavillenie skipped, and Vloon’s third attempt was particularly close but ultimately unsuccessful.

Lavillenie, the final man left in the competition, took a few moments to compose himself for his attempts at the next height, 6.06m. After two misses, he succeeded on his third try – and with a bit of room to spare – punching the air in celebration on his descent.

He ended his evening with three failed attempts at a would-be world record of 6.20m, but he was more than happy with his day’s work.

Britain’s Holly Bradshaw used the competition as a shot of redemption, having been forced to miss the final World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting of the year in Madrid just a few days prior. She had been in first place in the overall standings, but Iryna Zhuk’s victory in the Spanish capital gave the Belarusian the overall series title.

In Aubiere, however, Bradshaw continued her unbeaten streak and won with 4.78m.

She was playing catch-up during the earlier heights as a second-time clearance at 4.50m put her behind Canada’s Alysha Newman and Slovenia’s Tina Sutej. But Newman, Sutej and Switzerland’s Angelica Moser topped out at 4.60m, while Bradshaw and Zhuk both went clear at 4.68m on their first attempts.

Bradshaw finally gained sole ownership of the lead with a first-time clearance at 4.73m – a height which Zhuk needed three attempts to get over. Zhuk went no higher, however, while Bradshaw went on to succeed at 4.78m on her third try. Bradshaw ended her series with three misses at a would-be PB height of 4.88m.

Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics

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