Renault Lavillenie retains title

Updated: July 1, 2012, 2:53 PM ET
Associated Press

HELSINKI -- Renault Lavillenie of France cleared a world-leading 19 feet, 7 inches to defend his pole vault title at the European Championships on Sunday, beating a world-class field he will face again at the London Olympics.

Lavillenie was one attempt away from losing his hold on the European title after two misses at 19-1.

"A great result and an unbelievable competition," Lavillenie said.

Bjoern Otto of Germany cleared a personal best of 19-5 for second. In the best competition of the five-day championships, Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany took bronze with a height of 18-11. The event had the top five performers of 2012 in the lineup, and the top two bettered the year's previous best of 19-4 3/4.

Churandy Martina of the Netherlands added the 4x100 relay title to his 200 gold.

"Both gold medals are really important, personal and relay," Martina said.

Martina ran a strong second leg against 100 champ Christophe Lemaitre, and 200 silver medalist Patrick van Luijk finished it off for the surprise victory. Favorite Britain dropped the baton on the first changeover between Christian Malcolm and Dwain Chambers.

In the women's 4x100, the favored Ukrainians also botched the changeover, leaving Germany to take gold ahead of the Netherlands and Poland.

Sebastian Bayer's win in the long jump lifted Germany atop the gold medal standings with six, one more than France and Russia.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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