Renaud Lavillenie after clearing 5.93m at the 2013 French indoor championships (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
Aubiere, France - London 2012 Olympic Games and 2012 European Athletics Championships winner Renaud Lavillenie set a 2013 world-leading mark of 5.93m when winning his fourth consecutive French indoor title in Aubiere on Sunday (17).
The National indoor championships were being held at his own training venue and Lavillenie didn’t disappoint his home crowd.
“I’ve reached my target, which was to win and jump over 5.80,” said Lavillenie.
After opening his competition at 5.62m, the best height of the silver medallist Stanley Joseph and bronze medallist Romain Mesnil, Lavillenie then needed three attempts to clear 5.77m.
“I used a pole that was too soft, although it was one I’ve once used to clear six metres; that means that I’m in shape but I needed some adjustments.” Now perfectly set, Lavillenie jumped 5.87m with his first try.
Raising the bar to 5.93m, he experienced some initial difficulties but cleared it with his last attempt. He then asked for the symbolic 6.00m height, and chose another pole, but was unsuccessful.
“He took a 5.10 / 4.3, the hardest pole he ever took in his lifetime,” explained his coach, Philippe D’Encausse. “That means he’s in shape but he was a little bit tired.”
Unbeaten this season in seven competitions, Lavillenie is now eyeing a third consecutive European indoor title in Gothenburg next month. Mesnil, 35, the 2007 and 2009 IAAF World Championships silver medallist announced that he had taken part to his last national indoor championships and that he will not be going to Gothenburg.
Denissel moves up a gear
Simon Denissel, 22, impressed in winning the 1500m with 3:38.42 on Sunday, his best time ever either indoors or outdoors, getting a rid of his opponents with two laps to go. Marie Gayot looked good when winning the 400m by a huge margin, taking a risk with a fast first lap in 24.22 but then maintaining her lead to cross the line in a personal best of 51.98.
In the absence of the ill Yoann Diniz, Antonin Boyez won the 5000m Race Walk with a quick 19:06.06 while 2012 European Athletics Championships bronze medallist Mickael Hanany took the High Jump with 2.27m.
Many of the other top performances in Aubiere came on Saturday.
Jimmy Vicaut won his first national title and ran 60m in 6.53 for the no less than the third time this winter.
“Actually, I came here to beat my record, more than the title,” joked Vicaut. “I’m looking to stay healthy until the European indoors and run faster there but I have to make it clear that I’m a 100m specialist, not a 60m specialist, so my focus in geared towards outdoors and Moscow World Championships.”
This was also what Christophe Lemaitre uttered, reflecting on his mediocre indoor showing. Having experienced a slight ankle fracture in December and then flu’ in January, his preparations had not been ideal so far, and he placed third in 6.69, finishing behind Emmanuel Biron in 6.63.
“These problems have been out of my control, but I hope to train better and harder in spring”, said continental champion outdoors in 2010 and 2012.
“I see everybody is his shape but they will have to confirm it this summer; however our 4x100m relay can do great things.”
Johanna Danois created a major surprise in Saturday in lowering her 200m personal best from 23.75 to 22.81, the fastest time in Europe this winter. “Coming from Guadeloupe where it was 32C degrees and landing on Paris on Monday into 1C degree, it was hard for me to adapt to be read today. But I have a strong mentality and I could cope with it. I had no real target this winter, I’m very surprised by the time, I felt very light and full of energy during the race.”
On Sunday, Danois placed fifth at 60m in 7.42, a race won by Myriam Soumaré in 7.24.
The two 60m Hurdle races offered close finishes. Pascal Martinot-Lagarde won the men’s event in 7.53 from Dimitry Bascou, who ran 7.56.
”I matched the time I did to take the World indoor bronze medal last year, but I’m happier about the title. I really like this track. Dimitry Bascou is usually a good starter, and that’s my shortcoming. I managed to be in the fight as soon as the first hurdle and that’s what a great point,” said Martinot-Lagarde.
His training partner Reina-Flor Okori also got a good start in the women’s race and won in 8.01, with Alice Decaux second in 8.03.
“I’m starting to get the right rhythm”, said the winner. “I have two more weeks to improve it as the time is not yet what it should be.”
Harold Correa was the suprising winner in the Triple Jump with 16.94m, from Karl Taillepierre who reached 16.83. Mélanie Melfort went over 1.93m to win the women’s High Jump before having three failures at a national record height of 1.97m while 2012 European champion Eloyse Lesueur had no serious opposition in the Long Jump and won with 6.63m.
P J Vazel for the IAAF