Renaud Lavillenie at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Report: men's pole vault qualifying – Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Two former world champions were notable casualties in a frustratingly long qualification session, which had been delayed due to a technical issues inside the Olympic Stadium.  

Both the 2011 and 2013 world gold medal winners Pawel Wojciechowski and Raphael Holzdeppe will play no part in Monday’s 12-man final after struggling to find their best.

The German who has been badly hampered by injury since the indoor season needed three attempts to scramble over 5.45m before 5.60m proved beyond him and Wojciechowski’s competition was also to end prematurely at the same height.

Thankfully, the defending champion Renaud Lavillenie had no such dramas.

The Frenchman recently no-heighted in the European Championships final, and left it characteristically late before entering this competition.

He missed out on his first attempt at 5.70m to create a brief flutter, but he was successful with his second effort, which was good enough to advance.

World champion Shawn Barber also had a scare and needed a third attempt to clear 5.45m or face early elimination. However, the red-haired Canadian rediscovered his poise to clear 5.60m at the first time of asking and a successful second attempt at 5.70m booked his spot in the final.

There was also major alarm for Brazilian hopeful Thiago Braz, who was wobbling on the brink after two failures at his opening height of 5.45m. He then took a gamble and passed to take on the challenge of 5.60m and, urged on by a passionate home crowd, he achieved the feat and then cleared 5.70m with his first attempt to ensure his safe passage into the final.

The pick pf the qualifiers was US champion Sam Kendricks, who had a flawless record up to and including 5.70m from his four vaults.

Greece's 2014 world indoor champion Konstadinos Filippidis also cleared 5.70m with his first attempt and looks likely to be another danger in the final.   

Other men to also qualify included Argentina’s German Chiaraviglio, Czech Republic’s Jan Kudlicka, Piotr Lisek of Poland and Xue Changrui of China who managed to attain 5.70m.

Rounding out the dozen finalists are Daichi Sawano of Japan, surprise qualifier Pauls Pujats of Latvia and Czech Republic’s Michal Balner, all of whom found that having no failures up to and including 5.60m was sufficient to progress despite bringing the bar down three times at 5.70m.

Steve Landells for the IAAF