IAAF World Athlete of the Year Renaud Lavillenie is feeling “positive and optimistic” about getting back to business as usual in Lausanne’s Stade De La Pontaise on Thursday (9), just five days after his disappointing fifth place in the pole vault at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris.
“I am very glad Lausanne has come just five days after Paris, so I don’t have to think back too much,” smiled Lavillenie, who could only manage 5.71m in the Stade de France but who is now targeting the eight-year-old stadium record of 5.91m set by USA’s Brad Walker.
“Defeat can happen to anyone,” he added.
“I have never said I was unbeatable – that is the point of sport, you try to beat your opponent. Two years ago it was the opposite for me, I had a bad result in Lausanne and then I went to Paris and won with 5.92m.
“Here I am in Lausanne, ready to bounce back. I am positive and optimistic.
“My focus for tomorrow will be on winning four more points in the Diamond Race, that is really important for me. I think I will probably have to jump around 5.91m to do that. If so, why can’t I break the stadium record tomorrow?”
Rudisha aiming for fourth win in Lausanne
Kenya’s 800m world record-holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha has also got a target in mind as he prepares for a race that will contain two of his main rivals on the international circuit at the moment, Ethiopia’s world champion Mohammed Aman, and Botswana’s Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos.
Rudisha has had various injury problems during the past two years, and had to drop out shortly with a tight calf after starting his 600m race in Ostrava in May, but has since won in New York at the IAAF Diamond League meeting there and is now looking to run faster than 1:43.
“I was a bit scared by what happened in Ostrava, but it was not a serious injury and I didn’t panic,” he said. “By the time I ran New York I knew I was in good shape. I was reassured when I won in 1.43. The injury is completely gone now.
“I have had three wins here in Lausanne. This is where I ran my second race in Europe when I was still in high school. I won that race in terrible weather conditions.”
Rudisha was optimistic about breaking the stadium record of 1:42.61 held by former world record-holder Wilson Kipketer, who will be watching from the stands.
“I think the weather is going to be good tomorrow and we are looking for a fast race because I believe by now we are in the shape for 1:42, although you never know when that will happen because so many things have to be in place.
“I didn’t participate at the 2013 World Championships due to injuries. This year I think that will be my ultimate goal, to go to China and see how best I can do for this championships.”
Pichardo putting Edwards' world record out of his mind
Cuban triple jumper Pedro Pablo Pichardo believes his stunning early season form – victory in the opening IAAF Diamond League meeting of the year in Doha with 18.06m, followed less than a fortnight later by 18.08m in Havana – is quite simply down to the power of hard work.
“It has been a very good start to the season for me, and it has been a product of all the hard work I put into my preparation,” he said, as he looked ahead to his highly-anticipated meeting with Olympic champion Christian Taylor for the first time since the US jumper responded to his 18.06m Doha effort with a final-round jump of 18.04m.
“The competition with Christian (Taylor) is a very positive thing, it helps both of us,” Pichardo said. “But having a lead over him is a good thing to have – and I want to remain in the lead!”
Jonathan Edwards’ 20-year-old world record of 18.29m is a goal for the Cuban, but still a distant one.
“I am not so much thinking of the world record right now. But if it is do-able, it will be down to more hard work in training, so my objectives right now are to jump 18 metres on a regular basis and to go for the world title next month.
“In the long term, I will try to reach the world record.”
Local hero Kariem Hussein, who won the European 400m hurdles title and IAAF Continental Cup silver medal last season, has now recovered from the flu which he was still struggling with during the European Team Championships two weeks ago.
Hussein, who is studying for a masters degree in medicine, had prescribed himself a week in bed, and the rest worked for him.
“I still have a bit of a cough,” he said, “but I have done some good training recently.”
Decision day imminent for Felix
Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix will know whether she will try to double over 200m and 400m at next month’s IAAF World Championships after running over the shorter distance tomorrow.
“My coach, Bobby (Kersee) is going to watch me here and then he will make his final decision,” she said.
“I would love to do the double in Beijing but in my opinion at the moment the schedule just doesn’t allow for it. To me, it’s really disappointing.”
Friends and fellow 100m hurdlers Sharika Nelvis and Jasmin Stowers have arrived in different frames of mind after competing at the US Championships two weeks ago, where the former qualified for the World Championships but Stowers – who headed the world lists this year with 12.35 before Nelvis ran 12.34 in the championship heats – didn’t after finishing fifth.
“The experience of qualifying in Eugene will help me going on to the Worlds,” said Nelvis.
Stowers reflected that she was “disappointed but not discouraged” by her Eugene experience, adding: “I’m now going to try and win the Diamond Race series.
“The semi-final and the final were held within an hour of each other, and it was very hot. I caught a cramp warming up for the final, and had to decide whether to pull out or not. Fifth was the best I could do.”
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF