Men’s jumps: Youth versus experience as vaulters vie for Berlin gold
BERLIN - A battle of the ages is on the cards in the men's pole vault at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships as 31-year-old three-time champion Renaud LAVILLENIE (FRA) takes on Sweden’s 18-year-old rising talent Armand DUPLANTIS.
DUPLANTIS clinched gold at the world under-20 championships last month and beat LAVILLENIE and world champion Sam KENDRICKS (USA) to win the Stockholm Diamond League meeting on 10 June.
United States-raised DUPLANTIS, whose father Greg was a pole vaulter, has already improved his world junior record this year to 5.93 metres.
But LAVILLENIE has a pedigree of his own as the London 2012 Olympic champion and world record holder. He also tops this year's world list with 5.95m and has one title to his name already this season, having beaten KENDRICKS at the World Indoor Championships in March.
Polish pair Pawel WOJCIECHOWSKI and Piotr LISEK could change the story, however. WOJCIECHOWSKI was the 2011 world champion while LISEK is the European indoor champion and took world silver in London 12 months ago.
Raphael HOLZDEPPE of Germany is another former world champion who could threaten the top two, as could Greece's European indoor silver medallist Konstadinos FILIPPIDIS.
Former Cuban Alexis COPELLO will be Azerbaijan’s main hope for an athletics medal. COPELLO is the leading European triple jumper this year with 17.24m, while Portugal's 34-year-old Nelson EVORA, the 2007 world and 2008 Olympic champion, is one place below him in the continental rankings.
EVORA will be far from the oldest triple jumper, however, as 41-year-old Fabrizio DONATO goes for Italy 16 years after his European championships debut in Munich and six years since winning gold in Helsinki.
Radek JUSKA of the Czech Republic leads this year's European long jump rankings with 8.27m ahead of Greece's Miltiadis TENTOGLOU, although this looks like being one of the most open finals of the championships.
Ukraine's hopes of high jump gold have been boosted by the absence of world indoor champion Danil LYSENKO, an Authorised Neutral Athlete whose eligibility has been revoked by the world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
The 2014 silver medallist, Andrii PROTSENKO (UKR), has leapt 2.40m in the past and looks set to contest top spot with Dzimitry NABOKAU, who lies second on this year's European lists with a Belarusian record of 2.36m.
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