Canadian former pole vault world champion Barber dies aged 29

Connie Queline

Canadian former pole vault world champion Barber dies aged 29

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Canada’s former world pole vault champion Shawn Barber has died at the age of 29 from medical complications.

His agent Paul Doyle told the Reuters news agency that Barber passed away at home in Texas.

Barber took gold at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, won the Pan American Games the same year and finished 10th in the Rio 2016 Olympics.

His best jump of 6.00 metres was set in January 2016 and remains a Canadian record.

“More than just an incredible athlete, Shawn was such a good-hearted person that always put others ahead of himself,” Doyle said on Thursday.

“It’s tragic to lose such a good person at such a young age.”

Barber, who held dual Canadian-American citizenship, upset a field including reigning champion Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany and France’s then world record holder Renaud Lavillenie to win gold in China.

“Our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Shawn Barber, Canadian pole vaulter — 2015 world champion, Rio 2016 Olympian and Canadian record holder,” Athletics Canada posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Polish pole vaulter Piotr Lisek, who won silver at the 2017 World Championships in London, added: “One of the best pole vaulters in the world, Shawn Barber, passed away today.

“We had the opportunity to host him on Polish soil many times, and he showed his heart many times with incredible cheerfulness.”

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