Lavillenie aims for a first at world championships

Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:19am EDT
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By Gene Cherry

BEIJING (Reuters) - Renaud Lavillenie may be pole vault royalty with his world record and Olympic gold medal but there is one link missing in his illustrious career.

The Frenchman has never won an world championship outdoors.

Three times Lavillenie has stepped on to the podium at the global meeting, but never as the champion.

Back in solid form after a midseason slump, he hopes to soar to the top at the Beijing world championships, which begin on Saturday with pole vault qualifying on the agenda.

The finals come on Monday.

"The main goal is just to be the first which is something very hard because I did not do it at the last three world championships," Lavillenie told Reuters.

A leap of 6.03 meters in London in late July has given him the confidence it may finally happen.

"I am happy to be in China in good shape with good training," said the winner of bronze medals at the 2009 and 2011 world championships and a silver in 2011.   Continued...

Renaud Lavillenie of France competes in the men's pole vault qualifying round during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, in this August 10, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Phil Noble/Files