Pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie* will launch his 2014 IAAF Diamond League campaign in Shanghai on 18 May, announced the meeting organisers on Friday (7).
The flying Frenchman lost just two competitions en route to winning the Diamond Race for his event for the fourth consecutive time in 2013, and will begin his bid for the 2014 Diamond Trophy full of confidence after breaking Sergey Bubka’s long-standing world pole vault record in Ukraine last month.
Lavillenie added one centimetre to Bubka’s 21-year-old mark when he soared over 6.16m on his first attempt in Donetsk on 15 February.
He is now looking forward to heading a star-studded field at the second IAAF Diamond League meeting of the 2014 outdoor season.
“I’m very happy to jump in Shanghai in the first pole vault event of the 2014 Diamond League,” said the self-styled ‘airLavillenie’. “It will be my first time in China and I’m excited about that.”
Lavillenie’s vault in Donetsk was the highest ever achieved in indoor or outdoor competition and the reigning Olympic and European champion will now have his sights set on breaking Bubka’s 20-year-old outdoor best of 6.14m.
His current outdoor best is the French record of 6.02m that he set at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London last July.
He was unbeaten in six indoor meetings this winter and improved his national indoor record three times, including his world-beating performance in Ukraine, but injured himself while attempting the phenomenal 6.21m and decided not to defend his IAAF World Indoor Championships crown in Sopot, although he will be present at the championships as a spectator.
He will hope to be in similar form this summer when, as well as chasing a fifth straight Diamond Race victory, he will be aiming to win his third consecutive pole vault gold medal at the European Championships in Zurich having been forced to settle for silver at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow last August.
Organisers for the IAAF
*subject to the usual ratification procedures
2014 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 9 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
Eugene, USA – 31 May
Rome, ITA – 5 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun
New York, USA – 14 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul
Paris, FRA – 5 Jul
Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul
Monaco, MON – 18 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug
Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug
Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep