Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) on his way to the 2009 European Indoor title in Turin (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News 26 June 2009 – Paris, France

Rising star Lavillenie joins firmament of talent at Stade de France - ÅF Golden League

Paris, FranceFollowing the excellent performance by the young French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie during the European Team Championships (6.01m French record and best world performance of the season) the organisers of the Meeting AREVA - ÅF Golden League - couldn’t envisage their line-up on Friday 17 July in the Stade de France without playing host to a men’s Pole Vault and thus do justice to the achievement by this young French athlete.

Indeed, till now solely the women’s Pole Vault was on the meeting’s programme with, lest we forget, with the participation of World and Olympic champion and World record holder Yelena Isinbayeva.

The reasoning behind this decision was that the organisation of a second competition raising a few questions; one was of a technical nature: is it possible to envisage two pole vault competitions given that we have a 2hr30 programme? The only solution was of course to anticipate the simultaneous scheduling of two competitions, which meant that two jumping areas would need to be available in the stadium.

Yesterday morning – Laurent Boquillet – Director of the Meeting AREVA, received the necessary guarantees to proceed with this organisation.

With the technical problems resolved, it was necessary to check the plans of Renaud Lavillenie and the top pole vaulters both in France and internationally – could they fit a competition at the Stade de France on 17 July into their schedule?

Here again the response was an enthusiastic one: “When the organisers asked me if I could participate, I jumped at the chance. It’s not every day that you’re lucky enough to jump in the Stade de France. I had planned to do Reims then Angers in France so this is another great opportunity. Last year I cleared 5.50 m. As people have seen a lot of me in the media over recent days, this may boost the appeal of the discipline…”  Lavillenie said today.

The French public are of course particular connoisseurs of the sport, as they’re highly used to rubbing shoulders with the world’s best in the discipline with a recognised pole vault school – the top students of which include Encausse, Houvion, Vigneron, Quinon, Galfione, Mesnil, who have made a name for themselves at the greatest international competitions.

The arrival of Renaud Lavillenie at this level is a real thrill for the discipline’s enthusiasts and supporters in general. Above all else it puts a new light on the sport, which certainly wasn’t evident at the start of the season: a young French athlete can now go and realistically hunt down a podium place at the next World Championship of Athletics in Berlin!