Clermont-Ferrand stages pole vault spectacular

Clermont-Ferrand stages pole vault spectacular
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Renaud Lavillenie competed at home in the All Star Perche meeting in Clermont-Ferrand on Sunday.

Canada’s 2015 world champion Shawn Barber and USA’s 2016 Olympic silver medallist Sandi Morris took the honours at the All Star Perche meeting in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand on Sunday, the third of this winter´s nine European Athletics Indoor Permit meetings.

The pole vault spectacular, promoted by three-time European champion and world record holder Renaud Lavillenie, brought 4700 spectators to Clermont-Ferrand’s Maison des Sports to witness the world’s best specialists in action and they were not disappointed.

Barber was the only man over 5.83m, which he cleared at the first time of asking before failing three times at 5.88m.

The top European was the in-form Pole Piotr Lisek, who became the latest member of the elite six-metre club when he cleared a world-leading 6.00m in Potsdam on Saturday, but the 2015 world championships bronze medallist might have been tired from his 1300km trip between the two competitions and, although he finished second behind Barber, he had to settle with only going over 5.71m.

Lisek was one of six men who cleared 5.71m but could go no higher. However, a clean sheet throughout the competition ensured he finished immediately behind the Canadian.

His compatriot and 2011 world champion Pawel Wojciechowski also cleared that height but did so on his second attempt and finished fifth while Lavillenie is clearly still trying to get into his groove and was one place further back after needing three attempts to get over 5.71m.

"I just wanted to jump and I'm in pretty good shape but, as an organiser, I can say I’m very happy, reflected Lavillenie.

“This event is gaining momentum. Last year, it was a gamble to put on but it worked and that laid a good foundation. This year, we have progressed in every way. It’s a long term project but it gets everyone involved over several days of vaulting, from veteran athletes to school children,” added the 2014 world and European athlete of the year.

Germany’s 2013 world champion Raphael Holzdeppe unfortunately had a back injury at the start of the competition and withdrew without clearing a height.

Morris, Greece’s 2016 Olympic and European champion Ekaterini Stefanidi and Switzerland’s Nicole Buchler were all still in the women’s competition when the bar was raised to 4.71m but the American was the only one to go clear, succeeding with her first attempt before three failures at 4.82m.

Stefanidi was second and Buchler third, with both women having cleared 4.61m, with the Greek vaulter having cleared on her first attempt while the latter needed three tries at that height.