The Arcadis CityGames had two field events, the pole vault and the long jump. Stuart Weir and I love the concept of the CityGames and Manchester has the perfect street plan for the street meet. The long jump and pole vault are quite popular with the crowd who visits each year, on their way home from work. With two good competitions, these events may have attracted new fans and new participants to the sport. At the most basic, it was a grand competition.
Arcadis GreatCity Games, Manchester: Field events
The first event in the Arcadis GreatCity Games 2018 in Manchester was the men’s pole vault which was held in Albert Square in the centre of the city. To quote the public address announcer – can’t call him the “stadium-announcer” as there is no stadium! – Stanley Joseph put himself on pole position in the competition. He won with 5.60 from Luke Cutts on 5.30.
The Pole-vault lends itself to a street games setting. It is visual, it is spectacular. It is easy for the non-expert spectator to understand what is happening – the athlete either clears the bar or he does not. Often in a stadium, spectators are 50/100 yards from the action. This evening spectators were literally close enough to touch the athletes and their poles.
With all the attention on the one event, spectators could watch an athlete prepare, vault, consult a coach and vault again. With the two announcers having only one event to describe, they were able to keep spectators abreast of the progress of the competition and also explain the intricacies – how much time was allowed for each attempt, count back etc. And with six athletes taking a total of 36 vaults, the competition lasted an appropriate time for the non specialist viewer. Interviews on the runway with each athlete after he had finished also help to bring the event to life.
The most bizarre failure was by Matteo Capello of Italy, a bearded athlete, who managed to clear the bar before knocking it off with his chin. RunBlogRun’s correspondent could not help wondering if a clean shaven vaulter might have avoided this fate.
Stanley Joseph, the winner, is a 26 year old French athlete with a PR of 5.75 who won the competition with his jump of 5.45, reaching that height with a perfect record. He cleared 5.60 at the third attempt but failed to make 5.75. He represented France in the 2016 Olympics.
The second field event was the women’s long jump which resulted in another French victory with Eloyse Lesueur, jumping 6.58 with Britain’s Jazmin Sawyers second with 6.43. It was an exciting competition with Lesueur taking the lead in round one with 6.31 and extending it in round two (6.40). Sawyers moved into second place in round three with 6.38 and took the lead with her final jump of 6.43, only for Lesueur to win with the final jump of the competition.
Without question the inclusion of the two field events added an extra dimension to the city games.