Renaud Lavillenie wins the pole vault at the IAAF Continental Cup, Marrakech 2014 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Ostrava, Czech Republic

Preview: men's pole vault – IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018

In a stellar field that includes world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States and France’s world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie, the form athlete is the rising 21-year-old talent of Timur Morgunov, the authorised neutral athlete who will partner the 31-year-old Frenchman in the cause of Europe.

Morgunov set a personal best of 6.00m in taking silver in a historic European Championships final in Berlin, beaten only by a phenomenal clearance of 6.05m by Sweden’s 18-year-old – now back at school. He won the exhibition event in Zurich’s main train station last Wednesday in dramatic fashion, clearing an indoor personal best of 5.91m with the last vault of the competition, before travelling to Brussels and winning the IAAF Diamond League final with 5.93m.

If he falters, his teammate – who has won every title other than the world outdoors – will not hesitate to rise to the occasion.

Kendricks, who finished second in Brussels with 5.88m, and his Americas teammate Shawnacy Barber – the 2015 world champion who was third in Brussels with 5.83m – are both in decent end-of-season form.

Asia-Pacific’s hopes have been diminished by the injury Australia’s Kurtis Marschall suffered at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels just two days after he had set an indoor best of 5.86m in Zurich.

China’s Xue Changrui has a personal best of 5.82m, set when finishing fourth at last year's World Championships.

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF