Renaud Lavillenie after his 5.97m world lead in Helsinki (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Lavillenie's momentum continues in windy Nancy

Tomblaine, FranceRenaud Lavillenie won his 11th consecutive Pole Vault competition Sunday (8) night at the "Meeting d’Athlétisme Stanislas-Nancy", the fourth stop of the French "Pro Athlé Tour".

Lavillenie has often mentioned how instructive it was for him to jump under any weather conditions, as external factors forced him to execute his jumps with a sound technique. Nancy provided the recent European champion another difficult training as he had to deal with huge swirling winds.

Using a reduced run-up, he opened his competition at a lower height (5.33m) than usual and managed to adapt his technique to the bursts of winds coming to his side at 5.53m. He needed two attempts to clear 5.63m, which was enough to beat Jerome Clavier (5.43m). The world leader (5.97m) leaped over 5.73m but that was all he could do.

"At 5.83, I had three good jumps, but the weather and the fatigue from all the recent conditions were too much," the Frenchman explained. "What is important is that I’m confident I can jump high even when it’s difficult." Now a clear favourite for the Olympic Games, Lavillenie assures that he is not over-confident. "I know that you can’t take anything for granted. I have my feet on the ground, and my coach and family are there to remind me to stay focused."

Adams superbly consistent

Valerie Adams will also be one of the favourites in London as the Olympic title defender. Unbeaten since August 2010 in 23 competitions, the New Zealander produced a magnificent series of throws: 20.41m, 20.62m, 20.26m, 20.29m, 20.97m, and 20.54m. That was the first time since her Commonwealth Games title in October 2010 that the Switzerland-based thrower reached beyond the 20m barrier with all of her six attempts. "This is definitely my best season so far, and I feel I’m stronger than ever," said the thrower, who is coached by Jean-Pierre Egger. Her season includes a World Indoor Title and a 21.03m throw in Rome, the second best this year behind her long-time rival from Belarus, Nadzeya Ostapchuk (21.39m).

The 110m Hurdles promised to be an explosive race, with the presence of the three French selected for the Olympic Games, European silver medallist Garfield Darien, former World Champion (in 2005) Ladji Doucouré and Dimitri Bascou. Darien missed his start and stopped after three hurdles, Doucouré was never in the race (6th in 13.70) and Bascou, in spite of hitting the first and last hurdle, broke his personal best with 13.34. But these mistakes prevented him to play at the same level as winner Joel Brown from USA, 13.23 (wind +1.6), who leaned on the tape just in front of Cuban Orlando Ortega (13.25).

The wind pushed the sprinters to excellent performances during the 100m inside Raymond Petit stadium. Michael Rodgers (USA) and Kim Collins (SKN) were virtually inseparable as both ran 9.96 (w+2.4). The American was declared first from the photofinish, but Collins, 36, who had the best reaction time, 0.149 (0.158 for Rodgers), was delighted to run under 10sec, under any conditions, for the first time since 2003!

Laverne-Jones Ferrette ran her best time ever, 10.91 but the wind was measured at +4.5. After a strong start, she was able to resist American Charonda Williams’s good finish (10.95), while European champion Ivet Lalova placed third in 11.01. Canadian Perdita Felicien, 8th in that race with 12.31, had won the 100m Hurdles one hour before in 13.02 (w+2.8) from American Yvette Lewis, 13.05.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian Roman Avramenko threw the Javelin at 79.80m and Russian Pavel Shalin long jumped 7.96m (w+1.0).

Pierre-Jean Vazel for the IAAF

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