Lavillenie in tears despite winning pole vault
By Jim Heintz ,APGOTEBORG, Sweden -- 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.
March 5, 2013, 12:35 am TWN
The Frenchman cleared 6.01 meters 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.