Renaud Lavillenie at the 2015 French indoor championships (© S.Kempinaire/KMSP)
Many IAAF member federations in Europe staged their national indoor championships this weekend and the highlights on Sunday (22) included Renaud Lavillenie going over 6.01m and world-leading marks for long jumper French Kafetien Gomis and Czech sprinter Pawel Maslak.
Competing at the French Indoor Championships in Aubiere, a suburb of his home town of Clermont-Ferrand, Lavillenie cleared 6.01m on his second attempt before keeping the crowd enthralled during three unsuccessful ties at a world record height of 6.18m.
It was the 11th meeting in his career at which Lavillenie has cleared 6.00m or higher, a tally only bettered by Sergey Bubka who cleared that elusive barrier in no less than 44 contests.
“Sergey Bubka had cleared 6.00m here back in 1994 so I thought it was about time I got the venue record back for the city,” joked Lavillenie after his latest outstanding performance.
“That 6.01m vault was probably one of the best vaults of my career, I would have cleared 6.10m, maybe even 6.15m with it," he added. "Nowadays, when I try the world record, it’s not purely for show. Tonight, I used the stiffest pole I have ever used and when I master it, I can go very high. However, my legs just felt a little tired at the end of the competition."
With his national title assured thanks to an earlier effort of 7.91m, European bronze medallist Gomis then put everything together to reach 8.18m for his sixth national title.
Among the other leading results in Aubiere on the second day of the championships were Gael Querin’s personal best of 6065 when winning the heptathlon and Marie Gayot’s 400m victory in 52.14.
Maslak in magnificent form
Maslak, the world indoor 400m champion, showed that he should be one of the athletes getting the biggest cheers at the European Indoor Championships on home soil in two weeks’ time when he scorched around two circuits of the track in 45.27 at the Czech Indoor Championships in Prague.
It was the third-fastest outing ever by a European runner and just 0.03 shy of Maslak's own national record set at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, last March.
On current form, Maslak could challenge Thomas Schonlebe’s long-standing European indoor record of 45.05, which has belonged to the German since 1988, at the forthcoming continental championships.
Behind Maslak, Jan Tesar improved his best to 46.21 to move up to second on the 2015 European list.
Zuzana Hejnova, the world 400m hurdles champion, showed she was slowly getting back to her best form after injury prematurely ended her season last summer when she took the 400m title without the barriers in 52.76.
Denisa Rosolova won the 200m in 23.74 while there was also an entertaining men’s shot put with Jan Marcell, better known as a discus thrower, coming out on top with 20.71m ahead of Tomas Stanek, who was second with 20.66m and European indoor bronze medallist Ladislav Prasil back in third with 20.51m.
Pablo Torrijos became the first Spanish triple jumper to surpass 17 metres when he reached 17.03m at the Spanish Indoor Championships in Antequera, which was briefly a European-leading mark.
European high jump champion Ruth Beitia won a record 14th Spanish indoor title, clearing 1.95m.
Evora's best mark for four years
Portugal’s Nelson Evora, the 2008 Olympic triple jump champion, surpassed Torrijos as the European leader later on Sunday in Pombal when he leapt 17.19m at the Portuguese Indoor Clubs Championships, his best result since 2011.
Patrizia Mamona won the women’s triple jump with 14.10m, while Sara Moreira won the 3000m in 8:56.83.
At the German Indoor Championships in Karlsruhe, Rebekka Haase ran a European-leading 200m time of 23.12 while silver medallist Nadine Gonska, who clocked 23.30, also set a personal best.
Robin Erewa won the men’s race in 20.70 while Cindy Roleder ran 7.99 to take the women’s 60m hurdles title; world leader Homiyu Tesfaye reeled in Florian Orth right on the line to win a tactical but entertaining 1500m in 3:41.68 to Orth’s 3:41.85.
Karol Zalewski completed a sprint double on the second day of the Polish Indoor Championships in Torun with two personal bests: a European-leading 20.66 over 200m and 46.25 in the 400m.
At the Italian Indoor Championships in Padua, the prodigious Federica Del Buono was beaten by Giulia Viola, who pulled away over the last 300m to win the women’s 3000m in 8:56.23, with Del Buono second in a national under-23 record of 9:01.19.
In Tampere at the Finnish Indoor Championships, former European 100m hurdles junior champion Nooralotta Neziri again improved her national 60m hurdles record, this time to 7.98.
In Budapest the star performer on the second day of the Hungarian Indoor Championships was high jumper Barbara Szabo, who improved her personal best to 1.93m.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF