Pole-vault record rewritten - in Donetsk
FRENCHMAN Renaud Lavillenie broke Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old indoor pole vault world record on Saturday at the same Donetsk meeting where the Ukrainian great set the old mark in 1993.
Lavillenie, the Olympic champion, easily vaulted 6.16m at his first attempt - improving the record by 1cm - and, to make the moment sweeter, Bubka was present to witness it.
"It was totally crazy. I wanted to do my best. It was incredible," said the 27-year-old, who also sent out a jubilant tweet that he was "still in the air" over his victory.
Bubka cleared 6.15m in 1993 and still holds the outdoor world record of 6.14m set in 1994. The 50-year-old former champion was among the first to congratulate his successor.
"A new era has arrived in this sport... We expected this and we are delighted that it took place exactly here, in Donetsk," Bubka told AFP.
"I am very fond of this boy. I am sure this is not the last summit he will reach and that other brilliant successes await him."
Lavillenie, who subsequently made an unsuccessful attempt at 6.21m, revealed he had changed his pole in between a successful attempt at 6.01m and the record vault, something he had never done before.
"I asked for 6.16m because it was the best place to break the record of Sergei Bubka, 21 years after he set the mark," said the vaulter nicknamed "Airvallenie" by fans. "I thought it was the best place to try as the best was there," he added, referring to Bubka's presence.