Bubka-beater Renaud Lavillenie gets 12 stitches on leg

Paris: New pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie could miss the world indoors championships in Poland next month after injuring an ankle following his record leap in Donetsk, French media reports said yesterday.

Renaud Lavillenie arrives at the Charles de Gaulle Airport on crutches yesterday. Pic/AFP
Renaud Lavillenie arrives at the Charles de Gaulle Airport on crutches yesterday. Pic/AFP 

The French Olympic champion cleared 6.16 metres indoors on Saturday to break Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old world record at the same Donetsk meeting where the Ukrainian great set the old mark in 1993.

Lavillenie, with Bubka watching, then had the bar raised to a towering 6.21 metres, but he failed to complete the jump, injuring his left ankle as he fell backwards. The fall resulted in a bad laceration on the inside of his foot that required a visit to hospital for stitches.

Lavillenie later told L'Equipe newspaper that he would not take part in any meeting in the build-up to the world championships in Sopot, but that he was still hopeful he would be able to compete in Poland from March 7-9.

'I will not give up'
"I still have three weeks to get prepared and I do not want to give up, Even on one leg I will give all I have," he said. His father and former coach Gilles said that the wound had required 12 stitches.

"It will sideline him for a fortnight or so. He will not be able to compete in the national championships in Bordeaux, but for the moment it does not compromise his chances of taking part in the World Championships."

Hobbling hero
Lavillenie flew back to Paris yesterday to a hero's welcome in a country where pole-vaulting is held in the loftiest esteem. High praise also flowed in from all quarters.

'The New Czar,' headlined L'Equipe newspaper saying his giant leap in Ukraine had been "a major landmark in the history of sport."

Bubka, who still holds the outdoor world record of 6.14m set in 1994, told AFP that Lavillenie had begun a new chapter in the event. "A new era in the sport has arrived," he said.

"Today the winner is an Olympic champion, someone who already has tasted success several times. We were anticipating this happening and we are delighted that it happened here in Donetsk. I like this guy a lot.

"I am sure that it is not the last time he will do this and that other stunning successes await him."

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