Lavillenie soars to a treble

Lavillenie soars to a treble

Lavillenie soars to a treble

France's Renaud Lavillenie displayed all his experience to bag a "crazy" third world indoor pole vault title on Sunday even as Briton Andrew Pozzi hailed the late Roger Bannister as the inspiration behind his hurdles triumph.

In a bold show of confidence, the Frenchman came into the competition at 5.70 metres -- which six of the 15-strong field failed to make -- passed at 5.80 and went clear at 5.85 and 5.90 after one failure at the latter.

With no fewer than nine men owning season's bests of 5.88m or better, the pressure was on at the business end of a gripping vaulting display.

American Sam Hendricks (5.85) eventually took silver from Poland's Piotr Lisek on countback as a host of rivals fell by the wayside.

But world record holder Lavillenie was left punching the air in triumph as he cleared 5.90 for a title to add to his previous wins in 2016 and 2012.

"I'm very, very happy. The competition was a real battle," said the 31-year-old who won Olympic gold in 2012 and silver in 2016.  "The competition was very long and very intense as you can see with seven athletes trying to jump 5.90m.

"To be able to secure one more gold medal in the World Championships is a crazy feeling."

Fittingly, on the day Bannister died aged 88, British team captain Pozzi said his victory in the 60m hurdles had been inspired by the first man to run a mile in under four minutes.

"Roger Bannister was an unbelievable athlete and unbelievable person," said Pozzi, whose winning 7.46sec edged American Jarret Eaton into silver.

Two defending track champions stepped up to win successive titles, but there was no luck for Brittney Reese, the American bidding for a fourth world indoor long jump title who was pushed into silver by Serbian Ivana Spanovic. Spanovic went out to 6.96m on her fourth jump to beat Reese by 7cm.

In a slow tactical race, Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha produced a devastating last-lap spurt to defend his 3000m title with some ease, the 20-year-old crossing the line in 8:14.41 ahead of teenage teammate Selemon Barega.

There was no holding back in the women's 800m as Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba also successfully defended her title in 1:58.31, the fastest time run over the distance this season.

There was more Ethiopian glory as Samuel Tefera, just 18, hared home to win the men's 1500m in 3:58.19.

Courtney Okolo won a second gold of the world indoors as she anchored the US women's team to victory in the 4x400m relay in a new championship record of 3:23.85 ahead of Poland and Britain.

The men's relay went the way of Poland, Jakub Krzewina anchoring a team comprising Karol Zalewski, Rafal Omelko and Lukasz Krawczuk to a world indoor record of 3:01.77, smashing the previous best set by the USA in Sopot in 2014.

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