THE WEEKEND WATCH

The Weekend Watch
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After they were separated by a review of the photo finish in the final of last year's European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg, Great Britain's James Desaolu and Jimmy Vicaut of France were back at it in Birmingham as they traded places for top spot in the 60m world rankings.

An extraordinary weekend for athletics and one which ended in not exactly the way the most-talked about man would have expected it to.

Renaud Lavillenie made headlines across the globe after breaking the pole vault world record with his brilliant 6.16m in Donetsk, but the meeting finished with him in hospital.

After attempting to go even higher at 6.21m, Lavillenie cut the inside of his foot when he landed and he needed 12 stitches.

It means he is out of the French Championships in Bordeaux and a meeting in Metz, but he is determined to be ready for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot in just under three weeks.

“I do not want to give up, even on one leg I will give all I have,” said Lavillenie.

But in Poland, he will not have to face the man who beat him at last summer’s World Championships in Moscow as German Raphael Holzdeppe has brought an end to his winter season and will now concentrate on the summer, with the European Athletics Championships in Zurich looming large.

Lavillenie is not the only Frenchman who suffered a problem after a fine performance.

In Birmingham, there was quite an end, too, to the men’s 60m final at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix.

The winner, Great Britain’s James Dasaolu, had to be taken away in a wheelchair after suffering tightness in his leg with 20m to go, while France’s Jimmy Vicaut injured himself in the race where he finished sixth.

Vicaut will have an MRI scan on Tuesday to detect the pain in his left thigh, but unlike Dasaolu, he was not planning to be in Sopot.

It was still some afternoon for the pair of them.

In the 100m last summer, Dasaolu and Vicaut ended up as Europe’s fastest men. Now they have taken it a step further, despite their problems.

In their heats in Birmingham they traded places for top spot in the world rankings. Vicaut firstly ran 6.48 and then Dasaolu followed him in the next race with 6.47, both achieving personal bests, though they could never have predicted what the final might bring.

Dasaolu won it in pain in 6.50 as he beat Jamaica’s Nesta Carter, second in 6.53, and Kim Collins, of St Kitts & Nevis, third in 6.55, with Vicaut sixth in 6.58.

The Birmingham crowd were treated to a world record performance from Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba. She won the Two Miles in 9:00.48 for her third world record in 14 days after her 1500m and 3000m triumphs.

With America’s 110m hurdles world champion David Oliver failing to make the 60m hurdles final in Birmingham, the race became a European affair with France taking first and third.

Pascal Martinot-Lagarde won in 7.55 ahead of Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov, second in 7.57, with Garfield Darien third 7.58. 

The men’s long jump saw Russia’s world champion Aleksandr Menkov maintain his fine form as he won in 8.14m, beating China’s Li Jinzhe, who was second with 8.12m, and in third, Britain’s Olympic champion Greg Rutherford with 8.00m.

The Rodbla Vinter indoor meet in Gothenburg was the venue for the long-awaited return of Croatian high jumper Blanka Vlasic, though it did not go as she might have hoped.

After going over at 1.86m and 1.90m on her first attempts, she then passed at 1.92m and failed to make it at 1.94m.

It left her fourth in the event as Emma Green Tregaro gave Sweden a home victory on countback as she beat another Croatian, Ana Simic, with them both clearing 1.94m.

Daniele Meucci and Valeria Straneo are the Italian champions after the Giulieta and Romeo half-Marathon in Verona.

Straneo won in 1:09.45, beating Anna Incerti, the European marathon champion, who was second in 1:10:10 and Veronica Inglese third in 1:11:24.

With the World half-Marathon Championships in Copenhagen next month, all three women would no doubt have listened with interest to the news from Barcelona where on Sunday Kenya's Florence Kiplagat became the third athlete to break a world record this weekend when she triumphed in 1:05.12 (her 20km split of 1:01:56 was also a world record).

Pavel Maslak can do no wrong at the moment as he showed in the Czech National Championships in Prague.

On Saturday, the European 400m champion won the 60m in 6.67 and then on Sunday, he took the 200m title in 20.52, a national record and the second quickest time in the world this year.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Wednesday  - Istanbul Indoor Cup (Istanbul), Pole Vault of Prague (Prague).

Saturday - Balkan Indoor Championships (Istanbul).

Sunday - 34th Trabzon Half Marathon (Trabzon), Lotto Cross Cup Hainaut (Dour, Bel),Maraton Ciudad de Sevilla (Seville).