Renaud Lavillenie fired a broadside at Olympic pole vault contenders by defending his European title on Sunday with a soaring best of 5.97m, a height that cemented his world No. 1 ranking.
Lavillenie entered the competition at 5.60m — with seven of the 12-strong field already out, needing two efforts to pass that, before opting out until 5.77m, which he sailed over.
The Frenchman vaulted 5.82m at the third time of asking in a duel with German rival Bjorn Otto, who passed at 5.87m, which Lavillenie cleared in his first effort.
Both vaulters were then successful at 5.92m, Lavillenie upping the ante when he sailed over a world lead of 5.97m in brilliant sunshine and still conditions at the Olympic Stadium. Otto passed, but failed his three efforts at 6.02m, as did Lavillenie.
“It’s one of the best competitions of my career,” Lavillenie said. “It’s been the hardest. I was expecting a battle and I knew that I’d be up against it with the Germans.”
The Clermont native added that skeptics who doubted his entry into the European Championships so close to the Olympics had been answered.
“There cannot be a better preparation for the Games than a competition like that,” he said.
There was no gold-medal showing for Lavillenie’s teammate, Christophe Lemaitre, the winner of the 100m and seen as one of the biggest hopes in disrupting US and Jamaican dominance in sprinting come the London Olympic Games.
Lemaitre ran the bend as the second leg, but could only watch on as the Netherlands quartet of Brian Mariano, Churandy Martina, Giovanni Codrington and Patrick van Luijk won the men’s 4x100m relay in a new national record of 38.34 seconds.
Germany took silver (38.44) and France bronze (38.46).
Russian Sergey Shubenkov also impressed in winning the 110m hurdles in 13.16 seconds, with France’s Garfield Darien taking silver (13.20) and Poland’s Artur Noga bronze (13.27).
Earlier on the fifth and final day of competition, Portugal’s Dulce Felix won the women’s 10,000m in 31 minutes, 44.75 seconds ahead of Briton Jo Pavey (31:49.03), with Ukrainian Olha Skrypak taking bronze (31:51.32).
Turkey, fresh from winning three golds on Saturday, could hail another middle-distance podium topper in Asli Cakir-Alptekin, who won the women’s 1500m in 4:05.31 ahead of compatriot Gamze Bulut (4:06.04), with Ukraine’s Anna Mishchenko taking bronze (4:07.74).
Norwegian Henrik Ingebrigtsen, 21, was the unlikely victor in the men’s 1500m race in a slow 3:46.20, beating France’s Florian Carvalho and Spaniard David Bustos in a sprint.
The German women’s quartet won the 4x100m title in 42.51 seconds, but the men’s 4x400m relay was won by Belgium after Kevin Borlee produced a finely timed burst of speed down the home stretch.
Ukraine won the women’s 4x400m, taking their overall medal haul to 17, more than any other nation.
Germany’s Sebastian Bayer also left it late in the long jump, going out to 8.34m with his sixth and final effort to snatch victory from Spaniard Luis Felipe Meliz (8.21) and Sweden’s Michel Torneus (8.17).
In the women’s hammer, Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk threw a best of 74.29m to claim gold from Slovakian Martina Hrasnova (73.34), with Russian Anna Bulgakova (71.47) completing the podium lineup.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on