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Page last updated at 06:47 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 07:47 UK

Naked pole vaulter chases sponsor

Roman Mesnil takes to the streets of Paris

A French pole vaulter has run naked with his pole through Paris and posted the video on the internet in an effort to secure a new sponsorship deal.

Romain Mesnil, 31, who won silver at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, has not had his contract with Nike renewed after it expired last year.

"It was probably for budgetary reasons. It's the crisis," he said, referring to the global economic slowdown.

Mesnil appears at tourist spots such as Montmartre and the River Seine.

He runs with his pole as if preparing for a vault with his modesty spared by the addition of a black square.

Mesnil is also hoping to raise money for two charities.

The video has succeeded in drawing attention to his plight as it has appeared on television news bulletins in France and England.

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