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, vaulted 6.16 metres at his first attempt to improve the record by one centimetre and to make the moment sweeter Bubka was present to witness it and was among the first to congratulate him.
Lavillenie, who said he would like to go on and clear 6.21m, revealed he had changed his pole in between the successful attempt at 6.01m and the record vault, something he had never done before.
“It was totally crazy. I wanted to do my best. It was incredible,” said the 27-year-old.
“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.
“I thought it was the best place to try as the best was there,” he added, referring to Bubka’s presence.
Lavillenie had arrived in Donetsk in prime form having broken his own personal record twice last month.
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,” said the 50-year-old, who has forged a new career in sports administration and is a prominent member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“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.