Renaud Lavillenie in action in the pole vault (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
The pole vault promises to be one of the highlights of the Karlsruhe Indoor Meeting on 31 January as world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie will take on world champion Raphael Holzdeppe at the IAAF Indoor Permit meeting.
It will be the second time the pair have faced each other in Karlsruhe, following their 2013 clash which was won by Lavillenie. One month after that competition, Lavillenie won the European indoor title in Gothenburg, and the surface from that arena is in the process of being laid in Karlsruhe.
“I’m looking forward to the indoor meeting and the Karlsruhe audience,” said the IAAF world athlete of the year. “I’m also looking forward to competing on the surface on which I competed with great success in Gothenburg. With Raphael competing, it promises to be an exciting competition.”
Lavillenie’s victory in Gothenburg two years ago was bittersweet. He triumphed with a clearance of 6.01m and then seemingly cleared 6.07m, but it was deemed a foul when officials spotted that the bar had incorrectly landed on the peg.
But the Frenchman went significantly higher than that one year later when he broke Sergey Bubka’s world record with a clearance of 6.16m in Donetsk.
His main goal for 2015 is to finally win the world title that has so far eluded him, succeeding Holzdeppe as world champion.
Holzdeppe, whose participation in Karlsruhe was announced last month, cut short his 2014 season due to injury but recently made a low-key return to competition with a clearance of 5.20min Merzig. The Olympic bronze medallist is looking to go higher in Karlsruhe, the place where he set his indoor PB of 5.82m.
Another of Germany’s world champions, David Storl, is also set to compete in Karlsruhe. He too has fond memories of the arena; after finishing second to double Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski there in 2012, he returned two years later to win against a field that included not just Majewski but two-time world indoor champion Ryan Whiting.
His winning mark on that occasion was just 10 centimetres shy of the 21.43m arena record; a mark that looks to be within reach when he competes there this year.
Organisers for the IAAF