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Dominant Lavillenie stretches unbeaten streak


French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie stretched his unbeaten streak in 2014 to 10 competitions when he dominated Wednesday’s Diamond League in Oslo.

The Olympic champion and recently-crowned world record holder, his 6.16m busting Sergey Bubka’s long-standing record, has stated his goal was to stay focused ahead of this summer’s European Championships in Zurich.

And the 27-year-old, unbeaten since the Moscow world championships last August, looks to be the odds-on favourite for continental honours after another strong display in Norway.

Lavillenie entered the competition after half of the 10-strong field had crashed out, sailing over at 5.60m in clear, sunny conditions with temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius (72F) and little wind.

Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe fell well short of his targeted 5.75m or better, in his bid to nail down a berth on his country’s team for this summer’s continental championships in Switzerland.

Holzdeppe, who snatched world gold from the Frenchman last year in Moscow, winning on countback with a best of 5.89m after Lavillenie dramatically failed three times at 5.96m, could manage a best of only 5.32m, registering five no vaults.

Greece’s reigning world indoor champion Konstantinos Filippidis was the only vaulter to also go clear at 5.60m as Brazilian Thiago Braz and Russian Dmitriy Starodubtsev fell by the wayside, Germany’s Malte Mohr opting to skip the height.

Lavillenie cleared 5.70m easily. Filippidis, who served a 19-month doping ban from 2007-2009, failed with his three attempts, but Mohr’s brinkmanship paid off to keep the competition going as he was successful with his last effort.

Mohr scotched his first bid to go over 5.77m, Lavillenie sailing clear. Two further failures saw the German crash out to leave the Frenchman as the sole competitor standing.

Lavillenie had his first attempt fail at 5.83m, and then botched his second and third efforts as the wind picked up.

But his best of 5.77m, although not coming near to German Tim Lobinger’s Bislett meet record of 6.00m, was enough for a third victory in Oslo after previous triumphs in 2010 and 2012.


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