Sun, Aug 14, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Pole vaulters soar high in front of Brandenburg Gate

AFP, BERLIN

France’s Renaud Lavillenie clears the bar as he pole vaults in front of the Brandenburg Gate during the “Berlin Flies” team competition between the France, the US, Germany and Russia on Friday in Berlin.

Photo: EPA

French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie produced a best jump of 5.76m on Friday at the “Berlin Flies” competition at the Brandenburg Gate, put together to mark the 50th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall.

“It wasn’t a perfect performance,” Lavillenie said. “It was more for the prestige of being able to say we jumped at the Brandenburg Gate, a very symbolic area.”

The competition, which featured Germany and three of the four powers that governed Berlin after World War II — Britain did not take part — prompted Lavillenie to suggest it might be tried elsewhere.

“It is a good idea although maybe after a big event,” he said. “It might be fun if we could organize this kind of thing at all the famous landmarks in the world.”

Renaud Longuevre, the French trainer, was equally enthused by the event and nominated his own capital of Paris as a suitable venue.

“We could even do the same thing at the Arc de Trimphe or at the Eiffel Tower,” he said. “I spoke on the phone to [French athletics technical director] Ghani Yalouz and he found it a very interesting formula.”

On Friday, Lavillenie, the reigning European champion, failed at 5.95m and was unable to improve on his world-leading 5.90m, recorded at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco last month.

However, his jump was still better than the US’ Brad Walker (5.66m), Germany’s Malte Mohr and Russia’s Anton Ivakin.

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