Pole vault phenomenon, Renaud Lavillenie, had a great year having set a new world record of 6.16m and adding a third gold medal at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich this summer.
He hopes to end the season on a high note at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech on Sunday and aims to break the six metre barrier which he has yet to achieve outdoors this year.
The Frenchman has been named captain for Team Europe and is expected to lead by example and earn full points towards the continental title.
Lavillenie thought he had enough four years ago in Split when he cleared 5.90m but had to settle for second place behind Australia’s Steve Hooker who went five centimetres higher for a cup record.
Apart from World Championships gold, the Continental Cup is the other major title still missing from his collection.
“I tried this event only once, in 2010, and had a good fight with Steve Hooker. I jumped 5.90m but he made 5.95m, so I really hope to win this time.
“I am expecting something good. I’m still in good shape so why not jump six metres here? I think in Marrakech we will have some of the best conditions for jumping we’ve had all season,” he said today at the IAAF Continental Cup press conference.
Lavillenie arrives in Morocco with a 5.93 world lead which he achieved during his last outing in Brussels, and if the conditions are right this weekend we can expect even more from him.
It was an emotional response from Lavillenie in Zurich as he celebrated his win as if it was his first, shedding tears on the top spot of the podium.
The favourites tag can be quite heavy at times, but he still managed to walk away as champion.
“There has been much more pressure and attention and that takes more time,” he said. “But the good thing is I have kept my love of pole vaulting whatever height I have been jumping, and I’ve been able to go through the season successfully.
“I’m not unbeatable, of course,” he added. “The pole vault is not easy. I have worked hard to keep my level of performances above the others."
He also spoke about Team Europe’s chances of winning the competition.
“I think our strengths will be in the jumps where we have some big performers,” he said. “But we also have good sprinters in both men’s and women’s events.
“We are a young team and this is an opportunity for new talents to express themselves. As captain, I very much hope to be lifting the cup on Sunday.”