The Pole Vault competition was supposed to be a dual between the Frenchman Lavillenie and Olympic champion Steve Hooker. But the Australian knew quite early that things would not turn out the way he wanted.
“Today the warm-up was not good, I couldn’t find my marks, it was a hard day,” he summarised. After two misses at 5.22m, he managed to leap over 5.42m for his last attempt. However, he was unsuccessful at 5.52m, the height at which Lavillenie chose to open. Even though he was eliminated, Hooker stayed in the field to help his rival with the swirling wind. Indeed, the French record holder (6.03m) needed three chances to jump 5.72m and two more at 5.82m.
“I didn’t have the legs to jump higher with the big poles I used today,” said Lavillenie, who couldn’t clear 5.92m and improve his current world lead of 5.90 from Ostrava on 25 May. The recent winner in Rome (31 May) and Oslo (7 June) with 5.82m remains unbeaten and proved in Lille to be very consistent.
“I’m better than the last few years, as even though I don’t have a huge margin of progression, I’m able to repeat high quality performances.”
Hooker noticed that new trend. “Renaud looked obviously tired but it’s good to jump well in these conditions.”
Now full of confidence, Lavillenie can look forward to the next part of his season. “I’ve been able to produce a good streak of jumps, now things are going to be very interesting with the national championships next week and the European Championships at the end of the month.”
On the other hand, Hooker is yet to show his form since he jumped 5.72m in Perth in May, followed by no height in Shanghai (19 May), 5.42m in Rome and 5.20m in Munich on Tuesday. “I’ve got time to put these competitions behind me and go back to training.”