Lavillenie flies to new heights


When the summer comes to a close, how crucial will the past weekend be? On reflection, it might be seen as one of the most important of the outdoor season.

From the USA, to Austria to Poland, and Russia, European athletes put down a series of key markers. For some it was about this year, for others it was about 14 months time and the Olympic Games in Rio.

Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie has been troubled by injury but at the 41st Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, he showed that he is ready for something special in 2015 as he won the pole vault with a glorious 6.05m.

Je crois que j'étais très content !!!I think I was very happy !!!

Posted by Renaud Lavillenie on Sunday, May 31, 2015
An athlete who is looking for greatness every time he is on the runway, Lavillenie went over the bar for an outdoor personal best (breaking his old mark of 6.02m), a world leading vault, a meeting record and an IAAF Diamond League record.

Martinot-Lagarde dominates Americans

Last summer, there was arguably no more frustrated sprinter than Lavillenie’s French teammate, the 110m hurdler Pascal Martinot-Lagarde.

He was in the form of his life, running 12.95, but at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, he was beaten into third place.

If he is fuelled by extra determination this year, it showed in style with his brilliant performance in Eugene where he won in 13.06, a world leading mark while taking the scalps of America’s world record-holder Aries Merritt, who was second in 13.12 and world champion David Oliver, who was third in 13.18.

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Ennis-Hill is back in business

Götzis in Austria staged its annual Hypo-Meeting, the most famous multi-events competition outside of the major championships, and it proved a crucial two days for so many.

Arguably none more so than Great Britain’s Jessica Ennis-Hill, the Olympic champion, who had not competed in a heptathlon since winning gold in London in 2012.

She has returned to the sport after becoming a mum last year and proved she has not lost any of that hunger or ability.

Ennis-Hill did not win - victory went to Canada’s Brianne Theisen Eaton with 6808 points - but the Briton’s fourth place score of 6520 easily passed the Olympic qualification mark of 6200.

Schippers injury scare

Netherlands Dafne Schippers, returning to the heptathlon from her sprint successes, was second before the final event but did not race the 800m because of a sore knee.

Germany’s Carolin Schafer finished runner-up with a personal best of 6547 with Nadine Broersen, of the Netherlands, third with 6531.

Kazmirek world leader

Germany’s Kai Kazmirek won the men’s decathlon with a world leading 8462 as he beat countryman Michael Schrader on 8415 with South African Willem Coertzen third with 8398.

Licwinko 1.97m

Wherever you looked, European athletes were setting world-leading marks as in Biala Podlaska, Poland’s world indoor champion high jump champion Kamila Licwinko treated the home crowd to a superb 1.97m at the Polish National League.

Bazdyreva breaks two minutes and Fydorov improves PB

In Sochi, Anastasiya Bazdyreva broke two minutes for the first time as she won the 800m in 1:58.75 at the Russian Team Championships to move to the top of the European Athletics rankings, a place occupied in the triple jump by her teammate Aleksey Fyodorov who soared to an impressive personal best of 17.42m.

NR for Marghiev

In Chisnau, it was all about a domestic record at the Moldovan national championships as Serghei Marghiev threw 78.72m in the men’s hammer.

There are 79 meetings in Europe this week. For full details, go to

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