Mar.05 - SportLand: With the bar at 5.90m and three men clear at 5.85m, Renauld Lavillenie stood on the runway as the final man to make a second attempt, knowing that a clearance would likely secure him a third world indoor title.
Having just watched his two main rivals for gold – world champion Sam Kendricks and silver medallist Piotr Lisek – narrowly fail, the Frenchman saw his chance for victory.
And it was an opportunity he wouldn’t let slip, as he contorted his body over the bar to the delight of the Birmingham crowd, most of whom had remained in their seats to watch the climax of a competition that had been in progress for more than two-and-a-half hours.
Neither USA’s Kendricks nor Poland’s Lisek could respond, although both made honourable efforts, including a strong attempt by Kendricks at 5.95m, which would have been an indoor personal best.
After Kendricks brought the bar down with his stomach, Lavillenie launched into a victory sprint and embraced his friend, before quickly deciding to attempt the six-metre barrier.
Three close attempts followed, perhaps the best coming on the second attempt, where the 31-year-old had the height but knocked it off on the way back down.
Still, it was a superb victory for the world record-holder in an event that had been billed as possibly the strongest field ever to contest an IAAF World Indoor Championships pole vault final. It was a competition that didn’t disappoint.
The title clearly meant a lot to Lavillenie, who stood for the national anthem with tears of joy rolling down his cheeks.