Lisek gearing up to challenge Lavillenie

Lisek gearing up to challenge Lavillenie
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With his 5.90m from the weekend, Poland's Piotr Lisek will travel to Prague as the main challenger to Renaud Lavillenie in the pole vault.

With his third national record of the winter, Poland’s Piotr Lisek has shown that the pole vault in Prague this week might not be the foregone conclusion it once looked.

If anyone thought that Renaud Lavillenie might have the event all his way at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague, Lisek is ready to be part of what should be an absolute thrilling competition.

Frenchman Lavillenie leads the world rankings with 6.02m, but Lisek is now in joint second place behind him after clearing 5.90m in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, on Saturday.

He had already achieved heights of 5.87m, 5.85m and 5.80m during the past couple of months but now he has fine-tuned his preparations for Prague to perfection.

Lisek, 22, was sixth at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich last summer and two years ago he was 12th at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg.

On both those occasions Lavillenie took gold and while the Frenchman is chasing a fourth successive indoor title at the 02 Arena, Lisek will surely push him all the way.

He was the clear winner in Bad Oeynhausen, beating Portugal’s Diogo Ferreria, with 5.60m, and fellow Pole Przemyslaw Czerwinski, with 5.50m.

As Lisek was preparing for glory in Prague, another Polish pole vaulter, Anna Rogowska, revealed that she will retire this summer.

Rogowska, 33, the 2009 world champion and 2011 European Athletics Indoor champion, will bow out in her home city of Sopot.

Indeed, the pole vault was very much making the news this weekend because back in Germany, Russia’s Alena Lutkovskaya, the European Athletics junior champion who won the world junior title in Eugene in July, increased the national junior record to 4.54m in Zweibrucken.

The spring marathon season is almost upon us and in Treviso on Sunday, Italy’s Stefano La Rosa made an impressive debut at the distance.

Tenth in the 10,000m final in Zurich, La Rosa produced a superb run to win by over eight minutes in 2:12:05 from Morocco’s Lahcen Mokraji in 2:20:23.

Ptuj was the setting for Slovenia’s National Winter Throwing Championships on Saturday where national javelin record holder Martina Ratej delivered the fifth best effort of her career with 65.75m. At the same meeting, Matija Muhar, the world junior silver medallist in the javelin, achieved a national junior record of 77.13m.

The European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague is the major event of the weekend and a full list of the meetings across Europe this week can be found at