Lavillenie’s going for 20th straight victory in Zurich

Lavillenie’s going for his 20th straight victory in Zurich
European Athletics

Renaud Lavillenie was the star of the European Athletics press conference on Monday.

Renaud Lavillenie is relaxed, fully fit and looking forward to challenging for a third consecutive European pole vault title.

The 27-year-old French athlete, who eclipsed Sergey Bubka’s 21-year-old world record in February this year when he cleared 6.16m, has had no difficulty setting further goals for himself this season.

“It’s very important to me to win the European title three times in row,” he said. “It will prove I am very consistent. It will be exciting to be back in the arena.

“Right now I am on 19 competitions unbeaten, and I hope Zurich will be the 20th. I just have to wait each competition. It will be harder and harder during the season.

“I don’t think Bubka did more than 15 in a row wins. But it is very difficult to be at the top every time because of the event and the weather, so for me it goes to show even if it’s windy or if it’s sunny, to take the win very time is an achievement.”

Asked how close he might come to 6.16, Lavillenie responded with a grin: “That’s a good question. Right now pole vault is very competitive - l don’t know if it will be sunny, or windy. It is hard to know about jumping very high. The track looks really good and I remember two years ago some very good memories. My first goal will be to take the win and try to beat the Championship record, which is 6.01. After that, who knows.”

Lavillenie, however, is full recovered from the foot injury which he suffered in trying to go even higher than 6.16 in Donetsk, and which kept him out of the following month’s IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot.

“The good thing is I am in good shape, the same shape I was in this winter,” he said. “I am taking my time for this season.

“Since one month ago I am totally free with my foot. I get a good feeling when I take off. It was a long time, but I am feeling really happy right now because right now it is ended. I don’t even think about the foot now.”