The first six pole-vaulters to compete at the Wanda Diamond League Meeting de Paris have now been revealed, the entry list positively brimming with big names. Double world champion Sam Kendricks (2017 and 2019) will be up against two Olympic champions: Renaud Lavillenie (London 2012) and Thiago Braz (Rio 2016). It’s a line-up that promises to produce a cracking spectacle, and maybe even a new stadium record, a title that has been in the hands of Mondo Duplantis since last year (6.01 m).
Six-time champion at the Meeting de Paris (from 2009 to 2013 and in 2016), when it was hosted at the Stade de France, Renaud Lavillenie would love to sample the sweet taste of victory again before a home crowd at the Charléty Stadium, where he has been an event favourite for years. However, American Sam Kendricks, who has already won at Charléty three times (from 2017 to 2019), likely has a different take on things. Indeed, having already earned a slot at the World Championships in Eugene thanks to his victory at the last edition in Doha, he’s decided to head to Paris rather than take part in the US selection process.
Four men at over 6 m
The athletes placing second and fourth at the last World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade will also both join the fray in Paris. Brazilian Thiago Braz, Olympic champion on home soil in 2016, picked up his game again over the winter and is intending to continue the upward spiral this summer. A familiar face at competitions across metropolitan France, he notably jumped 5.91 m in Rouen in early March. Valentin Lavillenie, who cleared a personal best of 5.85 m in Serbia, has got accustomed to competing alongside the world’s elite jumpers in their bid for victory over the past two years. From Clermont-Ferrand in central France, this meeting will be an excellent opportunity to shine again, cheered on by thousands of Parisian spectators.
Piotr Lisek and Ernest Obiena are the last two names to be unveiled this Friday. The Pole has been the outright record holder since 2019 with a jump of 6.02 m and boasts a wealth of experience with no fewer than five World Indoor and Outdoor medals. The Filipino has been an integral part of the crop of new talent over the past two years. He secured a personal best indoors over the winter in Rouen and would love to improve on his outdoor benchmark (5.93 m to date) the next time he’s in metropolitan France.