Aregawi and Lavillenie are in a different class

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It could become an image for the new season - even if it is a snap shot from 12 months ago.

With 250 metres left of the women's 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League in Shanghai on Sunday, American Jennifer Simpson made an attempt to take on Sweden's incomparable Abeba Aregawi.

For a moment, as so many tried last summer, Simpson looked like she might go past the World champion.

And then, suddenly, without Aregawi looking like she had even changed her stride, she injected a blast of speed, and within a millisecond normal service was restored.

Sportsmen and women stress how hard it can be to retain a title and remain a supreme force for a second year in a row because rivals are more aware of them.

But sometimes there are exceptions to that unwritten rule and in this second Diamond League meeting of the season, Aregawi proved it.

The burst of pace sent her storming away to win in 3:58.72, the first woman to break four minutes this year, and over that last 250 metres she ensured Simpson would not be a threat.

The American finished second in 4:00.42 with Sifan Hassan, of the Netherlands, running a fine race to break the national record as she finished third in 4:01.19.

The smile Aregawi had at the finish said much.

She is simply unbeatable, after a winter where she added the World Indoor title to the European Athletics Indoor gold she had won in 2013.

If she triumphs at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, it will be some achievement to hold all four of the 1500m titles, indoors and out.

Not long after Aregawi had won, another European was celebrating and with a great deal of reason.

Renaud Lavillenie was competing off a shorter run up in the pole vault than he will adopt later in the season and he said he would be happy to win with 5.80m to improve upon the 5.75m which he cleared to begin his outdoor campaign.

But after uncharacteristically failing at his first attempts at 5.52m and 5.72m, Lavillenie, who broke the world record in February with 6.16m, stepped up his game in style.

He opted out at 5.77m to set himself up for a first time clearance at 5.82m and then after missing out at 5.87m, he succeeded at a brilliant 5.92m.

A stunning show and his fist-punching celebration told its own story for the Frenchman.

He did go on to fail three times at 6.03m but that is for another time.

On Sunday, as Greece's Konstantinos Filippidis finished second with 5.62m on countback from China's Changrui Xue, the rest knew that Lavillenie is going to be the man to stop once more.

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