Lavillenie, Gatlin star in Eugene

Renaud Lavillenie (AFP)
Renaud Lavillenie (AFP)

Eugene - France's Renaud Lavillenie defied injury to make an impressive 2015 Diamond League debut on Saturday, soaring 6.05m to a pole vault victory in Eugene.

While Lavillenie couldn't match his world record 6.16 set indoors in Donetsk last year, the highest outdoor vault of his career matched the second-highest ever achieved outdoors and was all the more impressive as he still feels the shoulder strain that kept him out of the first Diamond League meeting of the year in Doha on May 15.

It had him feeling bullish on his chances to clear 6.16 in a season that will be highlighted by the World Championships in Beijing in August.

"I still feel a little pain. I have to work on it," he said. "To be able to jump 6.05 with three weeks without normal training, that's why I can be very confident for the next competition and the championships."

Lavillenie's victory was among world-leading performances in 10 events at Hayward Field on the third stop of the 14-meeting Diamond League series.

US sprinter Justin Gatlin continued to build his solid start to the season, winning the 200m in a world-leading 19.68sec.

That performance comes after he posted the year's top 100m time of 9.74 at Doha.

The 33-year-old Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, said it was perfect preparation for the US world championship trials on the same Eugene track in June.

Before then, he'll race a 100m at Rome, but he'll skip the 100 at trials because he has a World Championship bye and race the 200m instead - with an eye toward challenging Jamaican great Usain Bolt in both at Beijing.

"I prepare myself for these kind of races in practice on a regular basis, so to be able to come out here and do this shows I'm on course to go out there and do something good at nationals," Gatlin said.

One of the most impressive performances of the day wasn't a season-leader, but Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba's 14:19.76 in the 5 000m made her the fourth-fastest woman in history -- a list topped by her older sister, Tirunesh.

Genzebe crushed the field, with Kenyan Faith Kipyegon second in 14:31.95 and Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot third in 14:46.69.

Jamaica's World and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce bounced back from a lackluster showing at the Shanghai Diamond League event on May 17 with a thrilling 100m victory over Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast, both finishing in 10.81sec.

That eclipsed the 10.92 clocked by Jamaican Elaine Thompson at Kingston on April 11, and was a welcome turnaround for Fraser-Pryce.

"I knew I had it in me. I've been training well," she said.

Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada defeated American world champion LaShawn Merritt in the 400m.

James's time of 43.95 lowered his own season-leading time of 44.22. Merritt was second in 44.51.

France's Pascal Martinot-Lagarde won the 110m hurdles in a season-leading 13.06 ahead of US rivals Aries Merritt (13.12) and David Oliver (13.14).

Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim, who has Javier Sotomayor's iconic high jump world record in his sights, cleared 2.41m.

US veteran Tyson Gay, who returned to competition last year after serving an abbreviated doping ban, won the 100m in 9.88, his fastest time since 2011 - when times expunged by his ban are excluded.

Gay was pleased to get a solid first individual 100m of the year under his belt after a couple of early season relay appearances.

Most importantly, Gay said, he feels he's finally moving on from the drugs ban.

"It feels great to get a victory and have all that stress behind me," he said.

Results on Saturday in the Eugene Diamond League athletics meeting:


100m (wind 1.5 m/sec)

1. Tyson Gay (USA) 9.88

2. Mike Rodgers (USA) 9.90

3. Su Bingtian (CHN) 9.99

200m (0.9)

1. Justin Gatlin (USA) 19.68

2. Anaso Jobodwana (RSA) 20.04

3. Nickel Ashmeade (JAM) 20.18


1. Kirani James (GRN) 43.95

2. LaShawn Merritt (USA) 44.51

3. Chris Brown 44.54


1. Mohammed Aman (ETH) 1:44.92

2. Nijel Amos (BOT) 1:45.06

3. Taoufik Makhloufi (ALG) 1:45.17


A race (Bowerman mile)

1. Ayanleh Souleiman (DJI) 3:51.10

2. Matthew Centrowitz (USA) 3:51.20

3. Asbel Kiprop (KEN) 3:51.25

B race

1. Ben Blankenship (USA) 3:55.72

2. Jonathan Kiplimo Sawe (KEN) 3:55.76

3. Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN) 3:55.80

110m hurdles (1.5)

1. Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (FRA) 13.06

2. Aries Merritt (USA) 13.12

3. David Oliver (USA) 13.14

400m hurdles

1. Johnny Dutch (USA) 48.20

2. Bershawn Jackson (USA) 48.22

3. Michael Tinsley (USA) 48.79

3 000m steeplechase

1. Ezekiel Kemboi (KEN) 8:01.71

2. Jairus Kipchoge (KEN) 8:01.83

3. Conseslus Kipruto (KEN) 8:05.20

High jump

1. Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) 2.41m

2. Zhang Guowei (CHN) 2.38

3. Erik Kynard (USA) 2.35

Pole vault

1. Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) 6.05m

2. Sam Kendricks (USA) 5.80

3. Raphael Holzdeppe (GER) 5.80



A race (1.7)

1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) 10.81

2. Murielle Ahoure (CIV) 10.81

3. Tori Bowe (USA) 10.82

B race

1. English Gardner (USA) 10.84

2. Elaine Thompson (JAM) 10.84

3. Rosangela Santos (BRA) 11.04


1. Allyson Felix (USA) 50.05

2. Sanya Richards-Ross (USA) 50.29

3. Stephenie Ann McPherson (JAM) 50.40


1. Eunice Jepkoech (KEN) 1:57.82

2. Ajee Wilson (USA) 1:57.87

3. Brenda Martinez (USA) 1:59.06

1 500m

1. Jennifer Simpson (USA) 4:00.98

2. Mercy Cherono (KEN) 4:01.26

3. Sifan Hassan (NED) 4:01.65

5 000m:

1. Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) 14:19.76

2. Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon (KEN) 14:31.95

3. Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) 14:46.69

Triple jump

1. (wind 2.1 m/sec) Caterine Ibarguen (COL) 15.18m

2. Ekaterina Koneva (RUS) 15.04

3. Olga Saladukha (UKR) 14.48


1. Christina Obergfoll (GER) 63.07m

2. Kara Patterson (USA) 62.85

3. Madara Palameika (LAT) 62.85

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