Renaud Lavillenie at the 2015 IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (© Kirby Lee)
After instigating a postponement of the men’s pole vault during Friday night’s lashing rain, Renaud Lavillenie made the most of the warm, still conditions to set a stadium and meeting record of 6.03m early on day two of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London on Saturday (25).
Jumping in a largely empty arena, some two hours before the main programme started, the Olympic champion sailed over 5.73m, took the lead at 5.87m, and then negotiated 5.93m and 6.03m without any problem to add one centimetre to the record he set at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games two years ago.
It’s a height that only the world record-holder has bettered this year, and then just once outdoors when he cleared 6.05m in Eugene last month.
He was matched up to 5.93m in London by Canada’s new Pan American Games champion, Shawn Barber, who cleared that height at the third attempt to push his national record up by two centimetres, a seventh national record of the year for the 21-year-old.
Both men skipped 5.98m and opted to go straight for the stadium record height where Lavillenie had daylight to spare as he went over first time. Barber was close on his third try but victory belonged to the Frenchman.
Now it was just a question of how high he wanted to fly.
He opted for a world lead of 6.10m and was close on his second effort when he had the height but brushed the bar on the way down.
After two defeats in recent IAAF Diamond League meetings, Lavillenie was delighted to back on course and he will bid for his first world outdoor title in Beijing next month.
“I’m very happy to be able to jump today instead of yesterday,” he said.
“Today was perfect conditions for us and it was a really good performance. Now I have to stay focused and go back and train for Beijing.
“Jumping six metres is always a good performance and to be able to do it again in London is really important for me. It was good to clear at the first attempt, it’s what I want for the World Championships.”
Record-breaking Proctor promises "more to come"
Shara Proctor was also in record-breaking form in the women’s long jump, taking inspiration from Dina Asher-Smith’s British record in the 100m just a few moments earlier, to move up to third on this year’s world list by adding three centimetres to own national record with 6.98m.
“I honestly did not expect to jump so far,” said Proctor, who had to wait until the last round to find her best form. “I'm just speechless. There is more to come.”
Proctor had already won the contest thanks to her first-round effort of 6.57m, one centimetre farther than fellow Briton Jazmin Sawyers, who was second.
Further records fell in the men’s long jump when Marquis Dendy spoiled Greg Rutherford’s return to the scene of his ‘super Saturday’ Olympic triumph three years ago.
The US champion, who lies third on the world list, was just one centimetre shy of the personal best he set when winning the national title last month with a last-round effort of 8.38m, which was enough to erase Rutherford’s stadium record set during the 2012 Olympic final.
Rutherford struggled to find his range, fouling his first three attempts before landing his best at 8.18m in round four, which was only enough for third place behind Zarck Visser and worth one point to take a narrow lead in the Diamond Race standings over Michael Hartfield.
Valerie Adams suffered her second IAAF Diamond League defeat in as many meetings when she was beaten by Michelle Carter in the women’s shot put.
Adams was 20 centimetres short of the season’s best she reached in Paris three weeks ago, hitting 18.59m in round two, followed by four fouls.
Carter went beyond 19 metres on all but one of her six attempts, her winning distance of 19.74m coming in round one.
“I feel I'm making small improvements,” said Adams, who competes next in Stockholm but hinted she may not go to Beijing.
Another Olympic champion was also defeated in the women’s javelin when Latvia’s 2009 European under-23 champion Madara Palameika threw 65.01m to beat Barbora Spotakova by one centimetre.
Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou extended her lead in the women’s pole vault Diamond Race standings, the Greek record-holder clearing every height up to and including 4.79m at the first time of asking before failing three times at what would have been a national record and world-leading height of 4.86m.
Russia’s European champion Anzhelika Sidorova also cleared 4.79m, a personal best, but did so on her second attempt and so lost out on countback.
Matthew Brown for the IAAF