Renaud Lavillenie showed once more that he is in the mood to restore order to the top of the podium at major outdoor championships as he took his pole vault world lead to 5.95m at the Texas Invitational in Austin on Saturday (14).
Not since the European Athletics Championships in Zurich 2014 has the Frenchman, considered by many the greatest pole vaulter in recent years, won an outdoor gold medal.
In successive years it has been bronze, silver and bronze in global outdoors competitions but with Berlin on the horizon, he is shaping up to be the man the rest will have to beat again after a superb winter culminating with his third world indoor title in Birmingham in March.
Punching the air with his right hand as he made his way over the bar on a sunny afternoon in Austin, Lavillenie, 31, was all smiles as he improved upon the previous world lead of 5.92m which he had set in the same city two weeks ago at the Texas Relays.
“A nice performance to finish my phase in Austin,” tweeted Lavillenie. “A new world-leading mark and on 16 strides. Thank you Austin, Texas for your welcome.”
When Berlin co-hosts the first multi-sports European Championships with Glasgow in August, Lavillenie will be chasing a fourth title at the event. His first came in Barcelona 2010 before Helsinki 2012 and then Zurich.
At the Texas Invitational, he tried out at 6.01m but that height proved just beyond his capacity. He is progressing so well, the mighty six-metre barrier - which he has not scaled outdoors since 2015 when he went over at 6.05m and 6.03m - could be within his grasp again.
National records for Weisshaidinger and Roos
Lukas Weisshaidinger reached a new barrier on Sunday (15) when he smashed the 68m-line for the discus to break his Austrian record in Santa Cruz, Spain.
Weisshaidinger, 26, the 2011 European U20 champion, threw 68.21m to replace his national record of 67.24m from 2015.
He moves to second on the 2018 world lists, and two places ahead of Sweden’s Daniel Stahl, the world silver medallist in London. Stahl himself threw 68.03m in Chula Vista, California on Friday (12).
At the Triton Invitational in La Jolla, California, it was Stahl’s teammate Fanny Roos who made his history, breaking the national shot put record which had stood for nearly eight years.
With a superb effort of 18.68m, Roos overtook Helena Engman’s 18.17m mark from August 2010.
Linke wins German 20km race walk title
With the European Championships as the big target, there were some good walking performances at the weekend.
At the German Championships in Naumburg on Sunday, European Cup winner Christopher Linke set a season’s best of 1:20:40 to win the men’s 20km race walk title ahead of Hagen Pohle in 1:21:41 and Karl Junghannss in 1:22:51.
Emilia Lehmeyer won the women’s 20km race walk title in a personal best of 1:32:49 ahead of Saskia Feige in 1:33:23 and European U20 10,000m race walk silver medallist Teresa Zurek in 1:33:30.
In Zaniemysl, Poland’s Katarzyna Zdzieblo won the women’s 20km walk in a personal best of 1:32:50 and Dawid Tomala won the men’s race in 1:24:25.
At the Balkan Race Walking Championships in Zrenjanin-Ecka, Serbia, Turkey topped the medal table with three gold medals and nine in total. However, the individual 20km race walk titles went to Ukraine’s Dmytro Sobchak (1:26:27) and Greece’s Panagiota Tsinopoulou (1:39:01).
Simpson wins bronze in a dramatic Gold Coast marathon
In brutal conditions with temperatures surpassing 30C, Scotland’s Robbie Simpson moved from seventh at the 35km checkpoint to third at the finish to win bronze for Scotland on the final day of the Commonwealth Games in 2:19:36.
Teammate Callum Hawkins led by two minutes at the 40km checkpoint before succumbing to heat exhaustion. He was taken to hospital in an ambulance but has since been discharged.
With Hawkins out of the race, Australia’s Michael Shelley successfully defended his title in 2:16:46 from Uganda’s Solomon Mutai in 2:19:02.
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) April 15, 2018