Athletics

Backyard pole vault: Now it's time for the women

Katerina Stefanidi (Getty Images)
Katerina Stefanidi (Getty Images)

Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece will headline a trio of top women pole vaulters who will face off in a virtual competition from their respective home bases on Saturday.

Stefanidi, who is also current world and European outdoor champion, Diamond League winner, European indoor champion and a two-time World Indoor Championships bronze medallist, will be up against two-time US indoor champion Katie Nageotte and Commonwealth Games champion Alysha Newman of Canada.

The showdown will be the second edition of the so-called "Ultimate Garden Clash", following the highly successful competition between male pole vaulters Mondo Duplantis, Renaud Lavillenie and Sam Kendricks, with the world of track and field decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

That trio set the bar high by making a collective 98 clearances over 5 metres in 30 minutes, with Duplantis and Lavillenie tying for the win with 36 clearances each.

The women vaulters, competing from home bases in Athens, Marietta in Georgia, and Bolton in the Canadian state of Ontario, will set their bars at 4 metres, some distance off the world record of 5.06m.

"At first when I watched the guys make 98 (36, 36, 26) bars I thought it would be impossible," said Stefanidi.

"But then when I tried it I wasn't too far off."

Stefanidi added: "I think competitions are even more important during these challenging times when we really don't know when and where we will be able to come together in person to compete next.

"It increases motivation and gives clarity to training."

Nageotte, whose indoor personal best of 4.91m matches Stefanidi's outdoor best, said: "This format is so much fun!

"It's non-stop action which is extremely appealing to fans. There is constant entertainment with the vaulters trying to take as many jumps as possible in a short time, and that's something sports fans really appreciate."

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