Renaud Lavillenie celebrates after clearing 6.08m at the 2014 Pedro's Cup in Bydgoszcz (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
France’s Renaud Lavillenie, the Olympic and European pole vault champion, produced a stunning leap of 6.08m at the 10th Pedro’s Cup meeting in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz on Friday night (31).
The feat moved him to second on the all-time list under any conditions and only the Ukrainian legend Sergey Bubka, who owns the world indoor record with 6.15m, stands ahead of him under cover.
Lavillenie had a soaring clearance at his new French record height and the capacity crowd in the Lucznicka Hall were treated to him having three good attempts at 6.16m.
Bubka’s world record, set in Donetsk, will have stood for 21 years on 21 February but there is now the possibility it will not see that anniversary. By coincidence, Lavillenie’s next meeting will be in that Ukrainian city on 15 February for the annual Pole Vault Stars meeting.
“My second attempt at the world record was good but I was already tired, though on the other hand, I must admit I was seriously hoping to clear it.
“I do not want to speak about world records, but I want to improve in each competition and I want to thank the organisers who made my approach as long as I needed,” said Lavillenie.
Lavillenie opened in Bydgoszcz at 5.68m before needing two attempts to go over 5.81m. He then cleared his next three heights at the first time of asking: 5.92m, 6.00m and then his outstanding 6.08m. Poland’s Robert Sobera was second with 5.75m.
World Indoors could see world record
In addition to his forthcoming trip to Donetsk, Lavillenie is eagerly anticipating his return to Poland in just over a month’s time, when he will compete at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot.
“Maybe I can break the record in Sopot at the World Indoors," he added.
Overshadowed slightly by Lavillenie’s exploits, the USA’s world indoor champion Ryan Whiting won the shot put with a world-leading 21.37m, with local star and two-time Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski a distant second with 20.36m.
Spain’s European champion Ruth Beitia continued her good run of form and won the women’s high jump with 1.97m. Poland’s Justyna Kasprzycka and Kamila Licwinko both cleared 1.94m and were second and third respectively.
However, giving the crowd even more to cheer, there were three other Polish wins at the field events-only meeting.
Teresa Dobija won the women’s long jump with an indoor personal best of 6.68m while a men’s and women’s weight throw was staged for the first time and won by hammer stars Pawel Fajdek and Anita Wlodarczyk with 23.22m and 20.09m respectively, which were both national records
Bydgoszcz was not the only place in Europe where pole vaulters thrilled their audience on Friday night.
In Dresden, both Great Britain's Holly Bleasdale and Czech Republic's Jirina Svobodova, the reigning European champions indoors and out respectively, ended up clearing 4.71m in a jump-off.
Initially, both women could only get over 4.52m and failed three times at 4.61m but, with their scorecards equal, they then went over 4.61m on their fourth attempts followed by first-time clearances at 4.66m and then 4.71m. At 4.76m both women failed and then agreed to a tie for first place.
Also at the German meeting, improving Russian high jumper Lev Missirov won in a personal best and meeting record of 2.31m.
At the Samara Region Indoor Cup in Russia, world triple jump silver medallist Yekaterina Koneva bounded out to a 2014 world leading 14.65m and for good measure she also won the long jump with 6.55m. Russian international Andrey Ruzavin won the 5000m race walk in 18:15.54 to move up to number five on the all-time list for the event.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF