Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Rio gold on his mind

Published:Saturday | May 14, 2016 | 5:00 AM
France's Renaud Lavillenie.

SHANGHAI, China,

Olympic pole vault champion Renaud Lavillenie says he is not focusing on making an attempt at the 6.14 metres world record this season, noting instead, that he will be channelling all his efforts towards a successful title defence in Rio de Janeiro.

Lavillenie, whose personal best stands at 6.05m, a mark he registered at the Prefontaine Classics in Eugene last season was scheduled to compete in his first outdoor meet at this morning's Shanghai Diamond League.

The French star also cleared 6.16m, while competing indoors in Donetsk two years ago the highest ever pole vault clearance and is this year going for his seventh consecutive hold on the Diamond Race prize in the event.

 

MAIN OBJECTIVE

 

Still the main objective is of course the Olympic gold, and the 29 year-old is expecting to make his first statement to that effect in Shanghai.

"This year is an Olympic year so the goal is not to set a world record, it's to get the gold medal in Rio. That is definitely my main objective; to jump as high as possible," he added.

Lavillenie said that the plan is to consistently hit 6m a mark that no other competitor has cleared since 2012.

"This year I want to be consistent at about 6m and at the Olympics because I know that not a lot of people can reach there," he said.

"So that is the focus because for the world record, it's quite complicated because of the weather and so forth but if the weather is good, why not but we'll see, I am always good to make some good surprises," he smiled before giving some insight into the adjustments he has made over the past few years in order to remain the dominant force in the event.

"From the beginning when I started to do really well in 2009 I was using a 5.10m pole and since three years now I am using 5.20m pole and I have improved from that in terms of performance. I have added about 10cms. I was jumping 6.03m with 5.10m and went up to 6.16m with the 5.20m, so that was the first big step," he shared. "In terms of specific preparations, I have just been focusing on my technique and continuing the basics and be able to take care of my body, good weightlifting, good sprint sessions and so on."

"I haven't changed anything special over the last year, I just look at what has worked over the last few years and try to improve on that," said Lavillenie.