Winter is almost here, the nights are drawing in, the number of cold mornings are increasing – and Renaud Lavillenie is still winning pole vault events.

Not many athletes end their summer season deep into October but Lavillenie did just that at the weekend.

He cleared a height of 5.70m to help his club Clermont triumph at the French Cup in St Etienne.

Lavillenie was the favourite to win gold at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August, the only major title missing from his collection.

It did not happen as the equally-brilliant Raphael Holzdeppe matched him for height at 5.89m and triumphed on countback.

Was a new era of the event born in that moment?

The next few years will tell, but one thing is for certain, Holzdeppe is already preparing for their challenges of the future.

While Lavillenie, 27, will no doubt be looking to regain top honours in 2014, Holzdeppe, 24, has already begun his path towards the big two events – the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot in March and the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August.

An injury brought Holzdeppe’s season to a close but he is up and running once more.

As Lavillenie was winning in St Etienne, Holzdeppe was resuming training in Leverkusen with his ambition long term.

He plans to vault in Sopot and Zurich and speaking to, he said: “I want to defend my world title in 2015 and win Olympic Gold in 2016.”

The fact there is so little age difference between Holzdeppe and Lavillenie, the prospect of the pair battling it out for the honours over the next three years makes the pole vault as exciting an event as there will be on the calendar.

Let us not forget that Lavillenie is defending champion at both the World Indoors and European Championships and he will not want to give up those titles lightly.

But Holzdeppe, who beat Lavillenie at the IAAF Diamond League in Rome when he recorded his personal best of 5.91m to set the tone for Moscow, will believe he can do it again.

The Frenchman topped the rankings this summer with 6.02m from his victory in London which put him seventh on the all-time world list led by Sergei Bubka’s 6.14m.

That was the best vault by anyone for more than five years, since American Brad Walker went over at 6.04m in 2008, but it was not a height that had an psychological effect on Holzdeppe as the men lined up for the final in Moscow.

Winter might be in the air but European Athletics finds itself warmed up by what lies ahead when these two men meet again.


One of celebration at the European Athlete of the Year awards in Tallinn where Ukrainian high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko won the male award, the Czech Republic’s 400m hurdler Zuzana Hejnova took the female title and the Rising Stars were Serbian 4000m hurdler Emir Bekric and Iceland’s 800m runner Anita Hinriksdottir.


Amsterdam and Birmingham stage two big road race events while across Europe, national cross country championships are taking place as selection draws nearer for the European Athletics Cross Country Championships in Belgrade in December.
European (end of summer) leaders – pole vault
Renaud Lavillenie (FRA), 6.02m London
Raphael Holzdeppe (GER), 5.91m Rome
Bjorn Otto (GER), 5.90m Eugene
Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS), 4.89m Moscow
Silke Spiegelburg (GER), 4.79m Zurich
Jirina Svobodova (CZE), 4.76m Plzen
Oct 17 – Belgrade Race Through History
Oct 20 – Amsterdam Marathon
Oct 20 – Great Birmingham Run
Oct 20 – Road Race Match (FRA-GBR-TUR-ITA) (Cremona)
– In Munich, Frank Schauer, in 2:18:54, and Silke Optekamp, in 2:41:50, won the 28th Munich Marathon and were crowned German Champions at the distance. Corinna Harrer, who won 3000m silver at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Göteborg
in March, won the half-marathon on her debut at the distance in 1:14:03.
– National national champions Gabor Jozsa, 2:22:58, and Simona Juhasz-Stanciu, in 2:42:26, won the 28th SPAR International Marathon in Budapest.
– Double European indoor long jump champion and this summer’s Universiade gold medallist Darya Klishina was awarded the title of Honoured Sports’ Master of Russia in Moscow.

Leave A Comment