Lavillenie crowned at IAAF World Athletics Gala

Lavillenie
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Renaud Lavillenie earned his Golden Tracks trophy after what was a tremendous year for the Frenchman.

France’s Renaud Lavillenie had a nearly perfect year in 2014, he broke the pole vault world record in February and won European gold in August, he was named European Athletics' male European Athlete of the Year in October and on Friday, he won the IAAF World Trophy as male athlete of the year.

It has been an amazing period for the Frenchman who became the first pole vaulter and only the second jumper, since Great Britain's triple jumper Jonathan Edwards in 1995, to win this prize which was awarded at the ceremony in Monaco.

Lavillenie said: "It is a dream come true for me, I could not expect more."

But he is already looking to 2015.

"One thing I haven’t won yet is the World Championships, so that still carries me forward. I have an opportunity next year. But then if I win one I want to win two, and if I won two I want three. I have three European titles and I now want four. I want my trophy cabinet at home to be the biggest one of all. To do this would be so difficult if I didn’t love the sport. I am so lucky to have found a sport that I love and this is the core of my motivation."

He also plans for another full indoor season highlighted by the Prague European Athletics Indoor Championships in March.

The IAAF Distinguished Career Award went to Lithuanian discus hero Virgilijus Alekna who announced that he will not compete in 2015, but did not confirm that he is retiring from the sport. This means there is still a change we could see him at the 2016 European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam and Olympic Games in Rio.

Alekna throwing in the Zurich European Athletics Championships at the age of 42.
Alekna throwing in the Zurich European Athletics Championships at the age of 42.

The World Rising Star Award went to French hurdler Wilhelm Belocian who won the world junior title in a new 110m hurdles world junior record of 12.99.

On the girls side the award to Briton Morgan Lake, who is world junior champion in both the heptathlon and high jump.