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NEWS FEATURE Furious Lavillenie hits out at Brazil fans after loss to Da Silva By John Bagratuni, dpa

Europe
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Thiago Braz da Silva won an improbable Olympic pole vault gold ahead of French top favourite Renaud Lavillenie, who is furious about the behaviour of the noisy crowd.

Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Thiago Braz da Silva stunned French top favourite Renaud Lavillenie with a pole vault gold for the host nation Brazil at the Rio Games - leaving Lavillenie furious about what he named a lack of fair play from the home fans.

Lavillenie went as far as comparing the jeering of parts of the Rio crowd on Monday with that of German fans during the 1936 Nazi Games in Berlin against African-American sprinter Jesse Owens.

The booes came when Da Silva and Lavillenie were the only remaining competitors of a thriller the Brazilian decided with 6.03m for the nation‘s first ever medal in the men‘s pole vault and at the Rio Games athletics.

"You see it in football. It is the first time I have seen it in track and field. It is the biggest moment of your life. I can‘t be happy about that. Now I have to wait four years to get back the gold," Lavillenie fumed.

"For the Olympics it is not a good image. I did nothing to the Brazilians. In 1936 the crowd was against Jesse Owens. We‘ve not seen this since. We have to deal with it."

"Track and field has no place for that," he added when asked why he had shown the crowd a thumbs down before his final attempt.

Brazilian fans have jeered other athletes at various events in Rio and organizers have admitted to a football culture and that not everyone was familiar with the etiquette in the Olympic sports.

The jeering was disrespectful but the competition itself a thriller in which shortly before midnight Da Silva raised his personal best by 10 centimetres with the Olympic record jump of 6.03m.

Da Silva admitted he had problems with the crowd as well, but for very different reasons than Lavillenie.

"The crowd were cheering me too much. I had to fix my mind on my technique, forget the people," he said.

Hours earlier, everything had favoured Lavillenie who had come to Rio as the season leader and in search of back-to-back Olympic gold.

The competition was restarted from zero after a heavy rainstorm had sent the jumpers running for cover after just a handful of events.

The world record holder Lavillenie seemed on full command, opening with 5.75m and clearing 5.98m with his fourth jump of the night.

But Da Silva was still there and, after passing on 5.98m, sent the crowd into ecstasy when he cleared the Olympic record 6.03m on his second attempt.

Lavillenie had one more jump left after two fouls on 6.03 but his last chance for gold was over when he failed to clear 6.08, and the 5.98 only good enough for silver.

Lavillenie was shell-shocked and furious after missing out on yet another title, the Olympic win 2012 remaining his only global title, while Da Silva and the fans celebrated.

"It‘s incredible. My first time over six metres," Da Silva said.

"I am very happy. We worked really hard for this moment - Not for the gold but to take a medal. For Brazil, it is amazing. I try to do my best for the people, they believe in us."

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