Suhr, Lavillenie vault to indoor world glory

Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:33am EDT
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By Steve Keating

PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Pole vaulters Renaud Lavillenie and Jenn Suhr claimed the first gold medals of the World Indoor Championships with record-breaking clearances on Thursday, while IAAF chief Sebastian Coe was reminded that restoring fan trust could take time.

Lavillenie dominated the men's competition, vaulting a championship best 6.02 meters to reclaim the title he won in 2012 but was unable to defend two years ago due to injury.

After watching his rivals toil through the opening three rounds, the world record holder entered the competition at 5.75m and coolly cleared his first attempt then sat down and passed on the next two heights.

The confident Frenchman rejoined the competition at 5.90m and sailed clear on his first attempt to seal victory, before repeating the feat at 6.02m.

With the gold medal secure, all that was left was three unsuccessful attempts at a new world mark of 6.17m.

"For the world record, I have to put everything in good order and it is not very easy," he told reporters of his failed attempt to add a centimeter to his existing best.

"I am very happy to first of all take the win, for the world record, I have plenty of time for that."

American Sam Kendricks (5.80m) took the silver and Piotr Lisek (5.75m) of Poland the bronze.   Continued...

Renaud Lavillenie of France celebrates after clearing the bar at 5.90 meters during the men's pole vault event at the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships in Portland, Oregon March 17, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson