Fresh from securing his sixth victory at the European Team Championships Super League in Lille Metropole at the weekend, world pole vault record-holder Renaud Lavillenie visited young athletes participating at the ISF World Schools Championship Athletics 2017 in Nancy, France on Monday (26).
Lavillenie - an official ambassador for this event along with former European indoor 60m hurdles champion Pascal Martinot-Lagarde - dispensed some of the advice which he has accrued in his many years in the sport and was also on hand to cheer on the athletes, sign autographs and answer some of the young athletes' questions.
“I think the most important thing when you do sports is to have fun and enjoy what you are doing,” said Lavillenie.
“When you are at school, you are still young. It's a good time to learn. And the responsibility is very important - to be able to learn about respect, respect the rules, respect other athletes. I started practicing sport before I went to school. So the good thing was that when I went to school, I was already doing my sport and it was a good opportunity for me to take part in some great competitions and then follow my work and follow my journey to be on top of the world.”
Lavillenie, a gold medallist at the 2012 Olympics and a seven-time European champion indoors and outdoors, spent two days with the youngsters, motivating them to deliver the best results possible. He also supported the winners on the podium and had a training session with the young athletes before the Meeting International Stanislas, the famous European Athletics Classic Permit meet which takes place this evening.
The ISF WSC Athletics 2017 gathered over 500 young athletes from 24 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
The event represents a unique chance for young people to come together not only for sporting purposes but to also to get to meet and make friends with athletes from other countries and learn about different cultures.