Pole vault winner Mondo Duplantis at the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm (© Deca Text & Bild)
World record-holder Mondo Duplantis will face two-time world champion Sam Kendricks and three-time world medallist Piotr Lisek in the pole vault at the Muller Grand Prix – the first Wanda Diamond League meeting of 2021 – on Sunday 23 May.
It will be Duplantis’s first competition in the UK since setting a world record of 6.18m in Glasgow during the 2020 indoor season. The 21-year-old from Sweden shared a podium with Kendricks and Lisek at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, finishing second on that occasion. He has been undefeated since then, though, and in 2020 he earned the honour of Male World Athlete of the Year.
“I’m hugely excited to be heading back to the UK to compete at the Müller Grand Prix Gateshead this month,” said Duplantis. “I have great memories of vaulting in the UK. My first World Championships was in London four years ago and I set a world record of 6.18m in Glasgow just over a year ago.
“I’ve heard the women’s pole vault world record has been broken a few times in Gateshead over the years, so if we get good conditions then hopefully we can clear some good heights. The support is always good at British meetings and it’s another important event on the road to Tokyo.”
Kendricks also has fond memories of competing in Britain.
“The United Kingdom loves athletics,” said the US vaulter. “When you get to jump for people who love the sport, you can feel it! It has been the site of some of my greatest achievements – the Anniversary Games, World Cup and World Championships have all been good to me with gold medals and I am happy to return.
“Mondo's greatest achievements have also come in the same areas. We love to compete together and always bring the best from one another. He is extremely hard to beat these days, and I love the challenge of world champion jumping against the world record-holder.”
Harry Coppell, who last year set a British record of 5.85m, and compatriot Charlie Myers are also in the line-up.
The event was due to take place in Rabat but has been moved to Gateshead due to the coronavirus pandemic. It means Gateshead International Stadium will be staging its first international grand prix meeting since 2010 and it will offer welcome competitive opportunities to many athletes ahead of the Olympic Games.
The meeting organisers look forward to welcoming back fans in some capacity for this month’s event and are taking every step to remain as flexible as possible in order to manage ticket distribution accordingly. As a result, tickets will go on sale during the week commencing 10 May, allowing for the maximum number of fans allowed to attend in line with national government guidelines.
Organisers for World Athletics