Renaud Lavillenie in the pole vault at Lake Leman in Lausanne (© Gladys Chai von der Laage)
Renaud Lavillenie cleared 5.91m – equalling his second-best effort of the season – to win the mem’s pole vault that took place in the FanZone on the shore of Lac Léman ahead of tomorrow evening’s IAAF Diamond League meeting at Lausanne’s Stade de la Pontaise.
Albeit that this was not a scoring event for the IAAF Diamond League, it comprised the most talented vaulters currently operating, other than Brazil’s Olympic champion Thiago Braz, who was unable to start.
And France’s 31-year-old world record-holder made the most of the warm and relatively still conditions and enthusiastic crowd to re-emphasise his continuing presence as a winning force in his event. Poland’s 2011 world champion Pawel Wojciechowski proved his closest rival with a season’s best clearance of 5.84m at his third attempt.
After failing his first effort at 5.91m, which Lavillenie cleared at the second attempt, Wojciechowski skipped to 5.97m in order to try to earn a win, but that height proved too much for him.
Lavillenie had a severe wobble at 5.77m, which he only negotiated scrappily at this third attempt, but he gained new momentum with a first-time clearance of 5.84m.
That was the height that did for the challenges of USA’s world champion Sam Kendricks and Australia’s Kurtis Marschall, who both cleared 5.77m, and Armand Duplantis, who ended with a best of 5.70m as his thoughts turned to picking up another gold medal for his collection at next week’s IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018.
The Frenchman, who will seek a fourth consecutive European title in Berlin next month, exhorted the crowd to a final effort of support as he took three ultimately unsuccessful attempts at 6.00m, the first of which was very close.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF