November 21, 2014 / 9:53 PM / 4 years ago

Frenchman Lavillenie, Kiwi Adams are Athletes of Year

World-record pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie of France (L) and shot putter Valerie Adams of New Zealand pose with their 2014 IAAF Athletes of the Year trophies in Monte Carlo November 21, 2014. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) - Pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie and Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams were named World Athletes of the Year at an IAAF gala in Monaco on Friday.

It marked the first time that field event athletes had won both awards and the first time a male pole vaulter or a female thrower collected the honours, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said.

Frenchman Lavillenie, 28, set the world record of 6.16 metres in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk in February, breaking Sergei Bubka’s 21-year-old mark. He also won 21 of 22 competitions.

“This is really the dream season for me,” he said when accepting the honour.

“I think the world record contributed to the award but I won other competitions too. I wasn’t as good as Valerie, I lost one competition, but 21 out of 22 is not too bad in an event which is quite unpredictable.”

Adams, 30, claimed a ninth global title when she retained her world indoor crown in Sopot, Poland.

The New Zealander was unbeaten in 2014 and boosted her winning streak to 56 competitions, having not lost since 2010.

Adams was the only athlete to triumph in all seven IAAF Diamond League fixtures this season.

“This is the icing on the cake for 2014. It’s been a year that’s been physically challenging but I’m proud to be here for New Zealand and Oceania,” she said.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina, editing by Tony Jimenez

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