Ultimate Garden Clash – Pole Vault Edition ‘felt like Worlds’, says Former Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie

Champion pole vaulters compete in garden challenge

Former Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie says he felt like he was in a World Championship after finishing joint-winner of a pole vault competition from his garden.

The Frenchman conceived the Ultimate Garden Clash – Pole Vault Edition, in which he, world champion Sam Kendricks and world record holder Armand Duplantis streamed efforts live on YouTube on Sunday.

“I got the same feeling as if I was going for the World Championship,” said 2012 Olympic champion Lavillenie.

“Honestly, I was really missing the competition feeling, and I’m really happy to be part of it.”

Lavillenie and Duplantis both cleared their bars 36 times, while Kendricks could only manage 26 efforts.

In the event, watched live online by around 20,000 people, the three pole vaulters aimed to complete as many jumps as they could in 30 minutes with the bar at 5m.

Lavillenie took part on a runway at the side of his home in Clermont-Ferrand, France, watched by his wife and daughter.

Duplantis used the same kit in his parents’ garden in Louisiana, United States, on which he started vaulting aged four years old.

And Kendricks had set up his runway at home in Mississippi, United States, on land where he usually keeps horses.

“It was just supposed to be fun; something to eat up some time on a Sunday,” said Kendricks.

“Not everybody has the means to do something like this, which is why we got the call.

“We are professional competitors and we have to find a way to do what we do – and it was a great workout.”

The event was streamed on YouTube on Sunday

Lavillenie said he would aim for one jump per minute before realising he was behind Duplantis.

“The last five minutes I had to push to the maximum and put the jumps into automatic mode,” the 33-year-old said.

“It was really hard. I’m not going to do it every week but once a year is OK.”

Duplantis, 20, was denied outright victory in extra time when Lavillenie declined as a precaution against injury.

The Swede broke the world record twice indoors in one week in February, setting a new height of 6.18m.

“[Coronavirus has] been tough for everyone all over the world and having this fun little competition has been something to look forward to over the last month,” said Duplantis.

“Right now and the future is pretty unknown – what competitions we’ll all have altogether again.

“I miss the feeling of competing and being out there with the other guys, so it was fun.”

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