Diamond League: Shawn Barber, Renaud Lavillenie set for pole vault showdown
Confident Canadian looks to avenge loss to top-ranked Frenchman at world indoors
Shawn Barber is in Shanghai, China looking to take care of some unfinished business at Saturday's Diamond League track and field meet (CBCSports.ca, 7 a.m. ET).
The men's pole vault event at the world indoor championships in March was billed as a showdown between the Canadian and world No. 1 Renaud Lavillenie of France.
But nerves got the better of Barber, 21, who finished fourth with a leap of 5.75 metres while Lavillenie topped the field of 14 at 6.02.
Barber enters the Shanghai meet brimming with confidence after last weekend's victory at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Kawasaki, Japan, and a recent gold medal performance at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.
Video: Shawn Barber <a href="https://twitter.com/vaultbarber">@vaultbarber</a> after winning Golden Grand Prix 2016 Kawasaki/Pole Vault <a href="https://t.co/hdm6H4Qqn3">https://t.co/hdm6H4Qqn3</a> <a href="https://t.co/UwtVVFx5Jo">pic.twitter.com/UwtVVFx5Jo</a>—@AthleticsCanada
He cleared 5.91 at the Texas Relays in early April and has a personal best of 5.93 outdoors, set at the London Anniversary Games in July 2015.
Lavillenie, 29, will be making his season debut as he gears up to defend his Olympic title in Rio in August. Seeking a seventh consecutive Diamond League victory, the three-time European champion leapt a world-leading height of 5.92 in his last appearance in Shanghai two years ago.
One day until the Doha Diamond League!<br><br>Did you know <a href="https://twitter.com/airlavillenie">@airlavillenie</a> set a Diamond League record of 6.05m in 2015? <a href="https://t.co/P3cW0vglre">pic.twitter.com/P3cW0vglre</a>—@EuroAthletics
Poland's Piotr Lisek and U.S. world silver medallist Sam Kendricks, who finished 2-3 at indoor worlds, are also in the field.
Other Canadians competing Saturday include Tim Nedow (men's shot put), Christabel Nettey (women's long jump) and Michael Mason (men's high jump).
Nedow, 25, reached the 21-metre mark in late January at the York University Open in Toronto, surpassing his previous best result of 20.98.
In April, the Brockville, Ont., native secured his first outdoor victory of the year with a winning throw of 20.77 at the Kansas Relays, well clear of the Olympic standard of 20.50.
The 25-year-old Nettey, who finished fourth at worlds in Beijing last August with a jump of 6.95, has a season best of 6.66. The University of Arizona grad from Surrey, B.C., set a personal best and Canadian record of 6.99 last season at Stockholm's XL Galan track and field meet. The Olympic standard is 6.70.
Mason, 29, finished second at the Millrose Games in New York in February with a 2.20m jump. The native of Nanoose, B.C., jumped 2.31 to win silver at last year's Pan Am Games and is a two-time Olympian who has already met the Rio qualifying standard.
What was shaping up as a star-studded field in the men's 100 with elite sprinters Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell, has been reduced to Gatlin, who was beaten twice by Usain Bolt at last year's worlds and settled for silver. Bolt, the 17-time Olympic and world championship gold medallist, is scheduled to compete in the 100 at the Cayman Invitational on May 14.
A minor toe injury will keep top women's sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica out of Saturday's 200 while Dutch 1,500 athlete Sifan Hassan, who won gold at the world indoors in March, also won't compete because of a hamstring injury.
Here are some other notable matchups:
Men's 110 hurdles
This event usually attracts huge interest in Shanghai, thanks to the legacy of 2004 Olympic champion Liu Xiang. Jamaica's Omar McLeod is one to watch after he extended his unbeaten streak to 10 across all events and disciplines, including heats, at last week's Diamond League opener by reducing his world-leading time to 13.05 seconds. He'll face the five men who finished behind him in Doha.
World record holder David Rudisha makes his season debut just three months ahead of his Olympic title defence. The 27-year-old opened his season by winning at the IAAF World Challenge in Melbourne in March in a time of 1:44.78, more than a minute off the world lead of 1:43.37.
Diamond League on CBC Sports
CBC Sports will provide live streaming coverage of all 14 Diamond League meet this season at CBCSports.ca and via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. TV coverage will be featured as part of the network's Road To The Olympic Games weekend broadcasts throughout the season.
The following is a list of upcoming Diamond League meets on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app:
- Shanghai (May 14, 7 a.m. ET)
- Rabat (May 22, 12 p.m. ET)
- Eugene (May 28, 4 p.m. ET)
- Rome (June 2, 2 p.m. ET)
- Birmingham (June 5, 9 a.m. ET)
- Oslo (June 9, 2 p.m. ET)
- Stockholm (June 16, 2 p.m. ET)