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.
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 stiches.
Lavillenie later told L’Equipe newspaper that he would not take part in any meeting in the buildup 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 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.
Lavillenie, who flew back to Paris on Sunday and a hero’s welcome in a country where pole-vaulting is held in the loftiest esteem, with high praise flowing 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”.
At 27, the Frenchman has, barring injury, several years of top class vaulting ahead of him and he has already made it clear that he intends to compete “at least until 2020”, taking in the Summer Olympics of Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo four years later.