Piotr Lisek started the year in the best possible fashion, winning the pole vault title at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade and he could be en route to making it a golden double.
In Monaco on Friday night in the the final Diamond League meeting before next month's World Championships in London, the Polish star equalled his outdoor personal best of 5.82m as he achieved a fine victory ahead of a fine field including Renaud Lavillenie.
Lavillenie, who in London will be chasing the one major honour to elude him, was back in fifth with 5.72m, himself being so close to 5.82m when the bar wobbled and then fell off on his last attempt.
But it is Lisek who was victorious and that can only be a morale lift in the days before the championships start. "It was tough for me, a lot of pressure. But I managed to win, that is important before London," said Lisek, who shared a bronze medal with Lavillenie and teammate Pawel Wojciechowski in 2015.
And his weekend has not ended there. Lisek left Monaco for Bialystok to compete at the Polish Championships where once more he will look to send out a message to his rivals.
Lavillenie has no concerns in the lead up to the championships. “There is nothing to worry about just before the World Championships because sometimes my worst performances are preceded my best ones. Now, it's back home to train and focus on the World Championships."
Coming in at 5.72m, he cleared that height at the second vault but he could go no further in what was a good competition for European vaulters. Jan Kudlicka, of the Czech Republic, and France's Kevin Menaldo were joint second with 5.72m and another Frenchman, Alex Chapelle, cleared a personal best of 5.72m for fourth on countback.
Rohler earns important win
The great German javelin duel which has developed this season between Olympic champion Thomas Rohler and Johannes Vetter took another twist on Friday night.
Vetter's 94.44m in Luzern earlier this month, the second best throw of all-time, set the standard and got the sport talking as he overtook Rohler's 93.90m world-lead but in Monaco, it was the Olympic champion who took the spoils.
Rohler opened in impressive style with 87.06m before taking that to 89.17m - and had further legal throws of 86.80m and 88.91m - as the Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch finished second with 85.43m. Vetter was third on this occasion with 85.14m from round five.
"I am really satisfied with the consistency, my worst throw was 86.80m," said Rohler. "I needed to be precise, high throws did not help due to the strong headwind, so I needed to be back with low throws. I know to throw far you need to go for high throws. London is a closed stadium so we will not go for records - but for winning. The key is to keep what you do, not to be stressed too much," he said.
Lasitskene's title defence is looking good
Mariya Lasitskene's brilliant run-in to London shows no sign of abating as she achieved another brilliant high jump success.
As the reigning champion, Lasitskene, now competing as an Authorised Neutral Athlete, broke the meeting record by one centimetre with 2.05m as she achieved a thumping victory ahead of the Ukraine's Yuliya Levchenko, who was second in 1.97m.
"It was great today as I jumped a meeting record," said Lasitskene. "I am not thinking about technical parts of the jumps, that is for my coach. In London we want to win and achieve the best possible result."
There was also much delight for Laura Muir And Eilish McColgan in a super-quick 3000m won by Kenya's Hellen Obiri in a world-leading time of 8:23.14.
Muir, the European Indoor 1500m and 3000m champion, who will be one of the biggest home names at the World Championships, was third in a personal best of 8:30.64, just behind Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech (8:28.66) with fellow Briton Eilish McColgan in fourth in 8:31.39, as she smashed her pb amazingly by over 11 seconds, beating her previous outdoor best of 8:43.27.
Lewandowski sets Polish 1500m record
National records were very much the order of the day. In the 1500m, as Kenya's Elijah Motonei Manangoi won in a world lead of 3:28.80, Poland's Marcin Lewandowski ran a Polish record of 3:34.04 for eighth, one place behind Britain's Chris O'Hare who ran a PB of 3:33.61, and in the 400m won by South African Wayde Van Niekerk in 43.73, Slovenia’s Luka Janezic produced a national record of 44.84 in sixth.
Sifan Hassan was fourth in the 800m in a lifetime best of 1:56.81 – in a race won by South Africa’s Caster Semenya in 1:55.27 – and will now take a great deal of confidence into the world championships. "It's amazing, it proves I am fast and good for my plans for London. Nothing is changing, I will go for the 1500m and 5000m double,” she said.