Golden Lavillenie rages as mighty leap ruled out
GOTEBORG, Sweden (AP) – Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie’s joy at winning the men’s pole vault title at the European Indoor Athletics Championships on Sunday was overshadowed when his following attempt at a personal best was contentiously ruled invalid.
The Frenchman cleared 6.01 metres to win the gold medal ahead of Bjorn Otto of Germany, but his next vault at 6.07 ended in tears despite appearing to have cleared the bar.
As he jumped and pranced excitedly, the judges ruled that the bar had come out of its brackets and not resettled properly, even though it didn’t fall, annulling the vault. Lavillenie fell to the track, clutching his head and shedding tears.
“The thing is, I know I did that. Everybody saw me jump over 6.07,” he said.
Sara Moreira of Portugal won the women’s 3,000, holding off a dogged challenge from Germany’s Corinna Harrer.
Moreira led after two laps and set the pace for four circuits of the track, then fell back as Almensch Belete of Belgium moved to the front. The Portuguese regained the lead with five to go, still pursued by Harrer, while Fionnuala Britton of Ireland made a charge of her own.
Moreira finished in 8 minutes, 58.50 seconds, two seconds ahead of Harrer. Britton took bronze at the Scandinavium arena in Goteborg.
“I am so happy I didn’t come fourth, as it was so close between us,” Britton said.
In the men’s 1,500, Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France kicked hard at the end to win by 0.05 seconds from Turkey’s Ilham Tanui Ozbilen, who led since the opening second.
Mekhissi-Benabbad clocked 3:37.17. Simon Denissel of France was third.
Perri Shakes-Drayton of Britain won gold in the women’s 400 in 50.85 seconds. She took the lead on the last turn and held off a late challenge from compatriot Eilidh Child. Moa Hjelmer of Sweden took bronze.
Adam Kszczot of Poland successfully defended his title in the men’s 800. At the halfway mark in the race, he moved up between Spanish pair Kevin Lopez and Luis Alberto Marco, who had been setting the pace. He then moved ahead of Lopez.
Kszczot finished in 1:48.69. Lopez was less than a second behind to take silver and Mukhtar Mohammed of Britain won bronze.
“The last lap was very fast, so I had to fight,” Kszczot said.
European outdoor champion Pavel Maslak added the indoor gold to his collection in the men’s 400. Nigel Levine of Britain and Russia’s Pavel Trenikhin followed.
The women’s 800 gold went to Natalya Lupu of Ukraine, who timed 2:00.26 to finish 0.7 seconds ahead of Yelena Kotulskaya of Russia. Marina Arzamasova of Belarus took bronze, while 2011 champion Jennifer Meadows of Britain finished fourth.
“I was a little surprised to get the gold,” Lupu said. “The last 100 meters came from the power of God.”
World champion and Olympic bronze medallist Olha Saladuha of Ukraine won the women’s triple jump with a leap of 14.88 meters, more than half a metre longer than runner-up Irina Gumenyuk of Russia. Italy’s Simona La Mantia was third.
In women’s shot put, Christina Schwanitz of Germany threw 19.25 metres to beat Russia’s Yevgeniya Kolodko and Alena Kopets of Belarus.
Bulgaria’s Tezdzhan Naimova won the women’s 60 race in 7.10 seconds, nosing out Mariya Ryemyen of Ukraine. France’s Myriam Soumare was third.
Russia’s Alexander Menkov took gold in the long jump with a leap of 8.31 meters, .02 more than the opening jump of Sweden’s Michel Torneus. Germany’s Christian Reif took bronze.
Ruth Beitia of Spain missed attempts at a personal best of 2.01 in the women’s high jump, but her 1.99 was enough to win gold over Swedish pair Ebba Jungmark and Emma Green Tregaro.