Holzdeppe and Storl among stars in Dusseldorf

Holzdeppe and Storl among stars in Dusseldorf
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Raphael Holzdeppe is ready to respond to Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie's 6.04 clearance last Saturday at the PSD Bank Meeting in Dusseldorf on Thursday 30 January.

There will be a series of fine clashes at the sold-out PSD Bank Meeting in Dusseldorf on Thursday - and none more so than in an event which could bring the biggest noise of the night.                                                     

The men’s pole vault includes Germany’s three leading competitors, with world champion Raphael Holzdeppe topping the bill at this European Athletics Indoor Permit event.

Holzdeppe won gold in Moscow on countback from Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie, a year on from his bronze at both the Olympic Games in London and European Athletics Championships in Helsinki.

At 24, he is now ready to embark on what should be a thrilling 2014 for the event, with Lavillenie already setting down the marker with his 6.04m last weekend in Rouen.

Now the attention turns to Holzdeppe to attempt to match that as he faces Bjorn Otto, the Olympic and European silver medallist, and Malte Mohr.

"I like Dusseldorf as a city, and I like the indoor hall. The spectators are very close, and they support us loudly. The atmosphere is just very good, "said Holzdeppe.

The crowd will have a lot to cheer for as David Storl and training partner Christina Schwanitz lead a large group of German athletes competing in Dusseldorf.

Both are world leaders in the shot put having gotten off to great starts to the season.

“I have never thrown over 21 metres this early in the season, this brings me hope for the rest,” Storl said.

He will face the double Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski, who has targeted the IAAF World Indoor Championships which are being held in his home country of Poland, and the Gothenburg 2013 European indoor champion Asmir Kolasinac of Serbia.

Pavel Maslak, of the Czech Republic, is the European 400m champion indoors and out, and he will be looking for more glory in March, this time on the global stage in Sopot. 

One man he is likely to face in Poland is Chris Brown, of the Bahamas, who won in Glasgow on Saturday in 45.93, second fastest in the world this year, while Maslak will be tackling his first 400m of the season.

Poland’s double European indoor 800m champion Adam Kszczot is back to defend his Dusseldorf title and also prepare for Sopot.