Lavillenie seeking a four-timer in Prague

Lavillenie seeking a four-timer in Prague
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France's Renaud Lavillenie took pole vault gold at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg with 6.01m.

Renaud Lavillenie will lead a strong group of French athletes at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague in March.

Fresh from winning the Athlete of the Year Award at the Golden Tracks ceremony in Baku, Lavillenie is planning his winter season where, no doubt, he will be looking to challenge his own pole vault world record after his brilliant 6.16m set in Donetsk in February.

But it could be a championship to remember for France as sprint hurdlers Pascal Martinot-Lagarde and Cindy Billaud, Eloyse Lesueur, the European long jump champion, Benjamin Compaore, the triple jump gold medallist from Zurich, 800m star Pierre-Ambroise Bosse and multi-eventer Kevin Mayer are all set to be in Prague’s 02 Arena between 6-8 March.

Lavillenie hardly needs more gold medals to seal his reputation but he will go to Prague chasing an amazing fourth successive title at the European Athletics Indoor Championships after his successes in Turin in 2009, Paris in 2011 and then in 2013 in Gothenburg where he won with 6.01m.

It was in Sweden last year that Lesueur won silver before moving to the top of the podium at the European Athletics Championships this summer, an event where decathlete Mayer won his second European silver.

His first had been in the heptathlon in Gothenburg and he will go to Prague as one of the favourites.

Martinot-Lagarde is becoming a regular among the international medals, with 60m hurdles bronze in Gothenburg, silver at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot in March and then bronze again in Zurich at the 110m hurdles while Compaore has had a year to remember.

In Zurich he triumphed with a brilliant European lead of 17.46m and will look to make it a double at the indoors.

Bosse has never won a major medal indoors but in July in Monaco, his 1:42.53 was a French outdoor 800m record.

The European Athletics Indoor Championships will be the biggest track and field event that Prague has staged since the European Athletics Championships in 1978.