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May 27, 2018

Kendricks wins wind-whipped pole vault in Eugene


May 27, 2018

LOS ANGELES, California: World champion Sam Kendricks won the men’s pole vault Friday at the Diamond League athletics meeting in Eugene, Oregon, on a tough night for world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie and Olympic champion Thiago Braz.

France’s Lavillenie settled for fifth and Brazil’s Braz failed to clear a height as Kendricks won with a vault of 5.81m.

Swedish sensation Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, 18, was second at 5.71m and Poland’s Piotr Lisek cleared the same height in finishing third.

Lavillenie cleared 5.56, the same height as fourth-place finisher Pawel Wojciechowski.

The French star, whose world record stands at 6.16m, was coming off an indoor world title in March and a victory at Shanghai this month with a vault of 5.81.

Unbeaten in Eugene from 2013-2016 and second last year, Lavillenie was derailed by the swirling winds. He needed three attempts to clear 5.56 and failed twice at 5.71m before taking too long to attempt a final vault at that height.

America’s Kendricks, who has tasted plenty of success at Eugene’s Hayward Field — at last year’s Diamond League meeting as well as in the prestigious US collegiate championships and the US Olympic trials — said the wind changed everything.

“At this high a level, a little wind can mean a lot of changes, especially if the wind is switching back and forth,” he said. “When you get yourself in a groove to jump into a headwind, you have to make a lot of changes on the fly. It takes a really experienced set of vaulters to do that.”

Kendricks was full of praise for Duplantis, calling him a “world-class jumper”.

“I think it was little ‘Mondo’ that made it exciting today,” he said. “I think that we learned today he is a jumper who is here to stay. If I didn’t get the chance to jump a 5.81 on my first attempt, it would have been a different day.”

Germany scored an impressive podium sweep in the javelin with 2016 Olympic champion Thomas Rohler winning with a throw of 89.88m ahead of reigning world champion Johannes Vetter (89.34m) and Andreas Hofmann (86.45m).

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