Athletissima: Duplantis battles Kendricks! Bengstton battles Bradshaw! Pole vault mania!


Eg6jwjgWoAcxXQm.jpgThe Lausanne PV set up, photos by Athletissima, Lausanne DL

lausanne pv .jpg"If you hold it, they will come", Lausanne Athletissima holds the pole vault, photo by Stuart Weir, via BBC TV

This is Stuart Weir's piece on the exciting pole vault in Lausanne today!


An outdoor pole vault event is normal at the Athletissima in Lausanne. What was different this year is that the pole vault WAS the Diamond League, not an add-on. With Covid 19 meaning that no normal event could take place, the program consisted of men's and women's pole vault competitions. In previous years this street event took place on the shore of the lake. This year it was at a city center location, which could accommodate more spectators.

The men's event was one of those rare occasions when an athlete (Sam Kendricks) vaulted 6:02 and came second. Mondo Duplantis won with 6:07. Duplantis had one attempt at 6:15 -which would have been the highest ever outdoor vault - in the failing light before indicating that he could not see well enough to continue.

busted pole .jpgCole Walsh snaps his pole, photo by Stuart Weir, photo via BBC TV

Mondo now has a day off before competing in Brussels on Friday. The two matadors' approach to the competition was fascinatingly different. Kendricks enter the competition earlier and jumped every bar, meaning that when the two cleared 5:82, Kendricks had jumped seven times; Duplantis twice.

With Thiago Braz (third) and Renaud Lavillenie (fourth) both succeeding at 5.72 but failing at 5.82 it was left to Kendricks and Duplantis to go head to head over 5.82, 5.87, 5.92, 5.97 and 6.02 before Duplantis successfully negotiated 6.07 while Kendricks failed three times.

Mondo commented afterwards: "It was a fantastic evening. The conditions, crowd, competition were all fabulous. Sam is a fabulous competitor, and I feel we bring the best out of each other. We kept pushing each other and you can see the result. It reminded me a bit of the Garden Challenge, we kept going after the next height. It was quick. I loved it.

"In the end it got too dark to go for 6.15 and I felt it was unsafe to continue any further. I felt I was in the zone. But you have to be prudent. You can see a lot of us are getting back to our best shape - Renaud was good, Thiago is getting back there. We could be looking at some great pole vaulting in what is left of this season".

Kendricks, gracious as always, said: "We pole-vaulters always push each other and Mondo pushed me to pass this great bar of 6.02. At the end people may have thought that the light wasn´t good but it was actually just fine for me".

bengstton .jpgAngelica Bengstton, photo by Stuart Weir, via BBCTV

The women's event was won by Angelica Bengtsson (Sweden), the only athlete to clear 4.72. Holly Bradshaw, who looked strong all through the event before failing at 4.72, took second ahead of the Swiss athletes, Angelica Moser and Michaela Meijer, all of whom succeeded at 4.64. It was the second time in a week that Bengtsson had got the better of Bradshaw.

holly badshaw.jpgHolly Bradshaw, photo by Stuart Weir, photo via BBC TV

Benstsson summed up her evening: "This has been a beautiful experience; the energy from the fans has been amazing and the city is a great backdrop. I'm happy to be able to come out and put on a show for the fans and hopefully help to lift their spirits as it's been a tough year for everyone. For us as athletes it's been tough as well. Personally, it has been hard to find the motivation to train after the postponement of the Olympic Games because we focus on that for four years, but I have been able to tell myself, summer 2021 will come soon. Until then I try to put on a show for the fans and I am happy with my performance today".

Holly Bradshaw also took positives from her evening: "It was really important to come out here today and perform for the fans considering everything that has happened this year. The competition was great and I really enjoyed being able to compete alongside the male athletes as we were able to feed off the energy from each other while competing. Being able to be here in the center of the city in front of all the fans knowing that they have come out just to watch us (with Pole vault being the only event on today) really gave me goosebumps and I appreciate their support. The organizers have done a great job and I believe these city events will feature more in the future".

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