Lavillenie on target, Rudisha stumbles in chilly Stockholm

Olympic pole vault champion Renaud Lavillenie warmed up for the Rio Games by clearing 5.73 metres to win the Stockholm Diamond League meet on Thursday.

It was the seventh Diamond League win for the 29-year-old Lavillenie, who kicked off his challenge under the drizzle by clearing 5.65m on his third attempt.   -  Reuters

France's Olympic pole vault champion Renaud Lavillenie warmed up for the Rio Games by clearing 5.73 metres to win the Stockholm Diamond League meet on Thursday.

But Kenya's David Rudisha, Olympic and world champion over 800m, finished just fourth in his race as many athletes struggled in wet and windy conditions in the Swedish capital.

It was the seventh Diamond League win for the 29-year-old Lavillenie, who kicked off his challenge under the drizzle by clearing 5.65m on his third attempt.

He then jumped 5.73m on his second attempt to pull ahead of Canadian Shawn Barber (5.65), the 2015 world champion, the only title missing from Lavillenie's collection.

But world record holder Rudisha, 27, was far from the 1:40.91 he achieved on the way to Olympic gold in 2012, clocking 1:45.69 to finish fourth in an event won by compatriot Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich in 1:45.07.

Frenchman Lavillenie — world record holder with a height of 6.16m — triumphed at the Oslo meeting last week to add to his success in Eugene in May and he is coming into form at just the right time with the Olympics looming large in August.

"I have three goals this year: in addition to the Olympics, the Diamond League, with the opportunity to win a seventh trophy, is a proof of consistency," Lavillenie had warned before the meet.

"And Europe (the continental championships next month in Amsterdam), which is a chance to gauge where I am at a month before the games."

American Christian Taylor landed 17.59m to win the triple jump at the eighth-leg of the Diamond League series.

But cold conditions put a damper on any world record attempt in the stadium which hosted the 1912 Olympics and has witnessed 83 world records.

American Kendra Harrison clocked 12.66 in the 100m hurdle, far from the 12.21 she delivered in Eugene last month which was the fastest by a woman in 28 years.

In the steeplechase, Bahrain's Kenyan-born Ruth Jebet led the way with 9min 08.37sec, far from her 8min 59.97sec in Eugene, which was just the second time that a woman had dipped under the nine-minute mark.

"I really wanted to improve my time but the weather didn't allow it. It was quite windy in parts of the stadium," said Jebet.

Serb Ivana Spanovic, world silver medallist indoors three months ago, led the way in the long jump with 6.90 m. "It was really hard this evening, the third straight competition where it was really cold. And we had to contend with the wind which wasn't good," explained Spanovic.

The powerful Ethiopians dominated the 5000m as in Oslo a week ago -- this time Ibrahim Jeilan, missing in Norway, won won in 13min 03.22sec ahead of five countrymen. "We began our preparations early to beat Mo Farah (Olympic 10,000m and 5,000m champion). I think we're ready. We'll run as a team in Rio," warned Jeilan.