Mondo Duplantis in action at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright

Spotlight on Duplantis at Lausanne's city centre pole vault

World pole vault record-holder Armand Duplantis will be gunning for his 12th consecutive victory in the 2020 season at a special city centre pole vault competition in Lausanne on Wednesday (2). 

Due to current coronavirus pandemic restrictions in Switzerland, organisers of Lausanne's annual Athletissima Wanda Diamond League fixture have opted to scale back the meeting this year to focus on the pole vault - both men and women - and to once again bring the event out of the stadium. That will allow up to 1000 spectators who will be stationed in four separate spectator zones in order to comply with local social distancing regulations.

On the men's side, Duplantis, who improved his world lead to 6.01m in Stockholm last month, will be the centre of attention.

"I am starting to get the feeling back that I had at the start of the indoor season," he said. "I feel I am getting into a good shape." Duplantis also topped 6.00m in Monaco, and in Stockholm, where he battled swirling winds, managed one solid attempt at 6.15m.

He'll take on world champion Sam Kendricks who improved his 2020 best to 5.82m in Chorzow, Poland, one week ago.

The 2019 NCAA and Pan-American Games champion Chris Nilsen, another rising star in the event, is also on the slate in his first outdoor competition of the year. The 22-year-old topped 5.95m last year and scaled 5.93m indoors in February.

Others on the start list include Olympic champion Thiago Braz, 2011 world champion Pawel Wojciechowski and Renaud Lavillenie, the former world record-holder, who will return to action after a broken left thumb forced him to the sidelines in recent weeks.

Pole Piotr Lisek, another member of the event's six-metre club, has withdrawn with a calf injury that also forced him to the sidelines at two recent competitions at home. Lisek improved the meeting record to 6.01m last year.

Both the men's and women's events will take place concurrently.

Like Duplantis, Holly Bradshaw also arrives riding a wave of momentum after her 4.69m victory in Stockholm, her first in Diamond League competition, just shy of her 4.73m season's best.

"Last year I finished third at 4.72m," she said. "This year will be competitive, and I hope to finish in the top two."

Sweden will also be well represented on the women's side with Michaela Meijer and Angelica Bengtsson leading the charge. Meijer has topped 4.83m this season to currently sit second on the world season's list while Bengtsson comes armed with a 4.71m season's best.

"2020 has been my best year so far, said Meijer, 27, who nabbed silver at the World U18 Championships back in 2009. "I handled it well this year due to Covid-19 and therefore had more time to get better."

Tina Sutej, who raised her own Slovenian record to 4.75m in July, should also be in the hunt.

Bob Ramsak for World Athletics