For once, Renaud Lavillenie does not enter the pole vault competition at the IAAF World Championships burdened by the expectation of claiming the one major honour that happens to be conspicuously absent from his CV.

Indeed, such has been the downturn in fortunes of the world record-holder since the dramatic night on which he lost his Olympic crown to Brazilian Thiago Braz in Rio last year, the 30-year-old Frenchman returns to the scene of his 2012 Olympic victory as an outsider in the battle for gold.

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