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Duplantis and Lavillenie scale the heights in Ultimate Garden Clash

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  • Pole vault honours shared with 36 five-metre clearances
  • World Athletics looks to try shot put, long and high jumps

It was not exactly an Olympic final in front of 80,000 screaming spectators, or even an ordinary track and field event, but for fans starved of live sport, watching three of the world’s best athletes square off live in their backyards on Sunday proved to be a surprisingly enticing prospect.

The challenge, billed by World Athletics as the Ultimate Garden Clash, had the London 2012 Olympic pole vault gold medallist, Renaud Lavillenie, face the world-record holder, Mondo Duplantis, and the reigning world champion, Sam Kendricks, to see who could produce the most clearances over five metres within a 30-minute period.

Physical-distancing measures meant Lavillenie was vaulting at his Clermont-Ferrand home in France, cheered on by his young daughter on a nearby swing. Duplantis, meanwhile, had to swerve past a palm leaf on the runway at his family home in Louisiana.

Not that it affected either man. They cleared the bar 36 times to finish joint winners, with Kendricks, who was competing from his back garden in Mississippi, finishing third with 26.

“It has been a very tough time not only for me and the other athletes but for the entire world, so it was fun to slip back into competition gear again,” Duplantis said. “With all the tracks closed I haven’t done much running.”

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