Pole vault trio set for unique garden challenge during lockdown


(Reuters) – Three of pole vault’s biggest names will compete in a unique competition this weekend, but they will not be breaking any lockdowns as they do battle from their gardens.

FILE PHOTO: Athletics – World Athletics Indoor Tour – Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais – Stade Couvert Regional, Lievin, France – February 19, 2020 Sweden’s Armand Duplantis during the Pole Vault Men’s event REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

World record holder Armand Duplantis, twice world champion Sam Kendricks and 2012 Olympic gold medallist Renaud Lavillenie will attempt to vault 5m as many times as they can in 30 minutes in a format they devised together.

They will be connected via a live video link with the May 3 Ultimate Garden Clash – Pole Vault Edition streamed to fans on the social media channels of governing body, World Athletics.

International sport has been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 232,000 globally and athletes the world over have found unorthodox ways to keep themselves in peak condition during the lockdown.

“I’m ecstatic to be able to compete … especially against Sam and Renaud,” Sweden’s Duplantis, who will compete from his training base in Louisiana, told the World Athletics website here

American Kendricks will be in action in his garden in Mississippi while France’s Lavillenie will vault from home in Clermont-Ferrand.

“Since it’s unknown what other competitions we’ll all have together, we definitely are going to enjoy this and have a good time with it. Winning this is crucial because I don’t like losing to them very much,” Duplantis added.

Lavillenie said the event was a good opportunity to test the new competition format.

Kendricks added: “I think the challenge is we don’t know what it will take to win, so it will be hard to gauge our effort.

“I know that it doesn’t matter what we’re doing together. We each want to win.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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