Mixed fortunes for Olympic champions

London, July 26 (IANS) It was a day of mixed fortunes for reigning Olympic athletics champions on the second day of the Diamond League meeting here.

Olympic champion and world record holder Renaud Lavillenie broke his own stadium and meet record by clearing 6.03 metres in men’s pole vault on Saturday, Xinhua reported.

In an event postponed from Friday night due to rain, the Frenchman sailed over 5.73m, took the lead at 5.87m, and then negotiated 5.93m and 6.03m, improving his own mark by one centimetre in his first attempt. Canada’s Shawn Barber finished second with 5.93m, failing at 6.03m thrice.

Lavillenie had broken Ukraine legend Sergey Bubka’s 21-year-old world record of 6.15m early last year with 6.16m.

“I’m very happy to be able to jump today instead of yesterday, today was perfect conditions for us. Now I have to stay focused and go back and train for Beijing,” said the Frenchman.

“Jumping 6m is always a good performance and to be able to do it again in London, for me is really important. It’s good that I was able to clear at the first height is important, it’s what I want for the World Championships.”

Local hero Greg Rutherford, who took his “super Saturday” Olympic triumph three years ago, suffered a surprise defeat in men’s long jump, fouling his first three attempts before landing his best at 8.18m in Round 4. He finished third behind American Marquis Dendy and Zarck Visser of South Africa. Dendy won the title in a last round effort of 8.38m.

“It was very frustrating. If I could have got one in the first three (jumps) I could have won the competition again but that’s what happens in long jump; if you don’t get your run up correct you can end up finishing third. I’m really disappointed,” Rutherford said.

New Zealand’s Valerie Adams, a double Olympic gold winner and four-time World Champion, suffered her second Diamond League defeat in as many meetings when she was beaten by Michelle Carter of the United States in women’s shot put. Adams hit 18.59m in Round 2, followed by four fouls. Carter went beyond 19m on all but one of her six attempts and won the event with 19.74m.

Adams, who has been plagued with elbow injuries, said, “It’s been a rocky road (to come back from injury). I have to be patient, my big aim is Rio (2016 Olympics), so I had to get myself sorted in time. I’ve been dominant for five years and recently it has been unknown territory, but I’m human. My body has had a tough beating. I’m looking forward to next year and getting back to 20m.”

Another 2012 Olympic champion was also defeated in women’s javelin when Czech Barbora Spotakova was beaten by Latvia’s Madara Palameika, who threw 65.01m, by one centimetre.

Later, Nijel Amos of Botzwana out-sprinted world record holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha by a tenth of a second in men’s 800m. After claiming the silver behind Rudisha three years ago here, Amos has beaten the Kenyan in six out of seven races.

“All I wanted was the win and I got it so I’m happy. I was confident and, with my speed, I knew with the last 100 I could take it,” Amos said.

Jamaican American Sanya Richards-Ross, the Olympic 400m champion, finished sixth in women’s 200m and was ahead of Englishwoman Jessica Ennis-Hill, the Olympic heptathlon champion, who finished eighth with a season-best 23.49.

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