Renaud Lavillenie in the pole vault at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai (© Errol Anderson)
Pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie will launch his 2016 IAAF Diamond League campaign in Shanghai on 14 May, the meeting organisers announced on Tuesday (22).
The flying Frenchman confirmed his fabulous form when he won his second world indoor crown in Portland last Thursday with a championship record of 6.02m, taking just two vaults to secure the gold medal. But Lavillenie is already looking forward to the outdoor season where he hopes to retain his Olympic title and win an unprecedented seventh Diamond Race.
At the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels last September, the Olympic champion clinched his sixth Diamond Trophy when he cleared 5.95m, maintaining his record as the only athlete in any event to have won the Diamond Race every year since the series was inaugurated in 2010.
Lavillenie leapt a world-leading height of 5.92m on his last appearance in Shanghai two years ago, a superb performance which turned out to be the curtain raiser to an undefeated season, in turn leading to him being voted the IAAF World Athlete of the Year.
“I’m very happy to jump in Shanghai in the first pole vault event of the 2016 Diamond League,” said Lavillenie. “When I competed there two years ago it was my first performance in China and one that went very well for me at the start of a dream season.
“I hope I can jump even better this time and set the standard for this outdoor season when a seventh Diamond Trophy and gold at the Rio Olympic Games are my goals.”
The signs are good for a repeat performance as the 29-year-old has been in top shape throughout the indoor season with six victories from eight meetings and three jumps above the six-metre barrier, including a world-leading 6.03m vault in the Czech Republic on 5 March.
He owns the IAAF Diamond League record with the 6.05m that he jumped in Eugene last May.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL