Sam Kendricks in the pole vault at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Birmingham, UK

Preview: men's pole vault – IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018

With no fewer than nine men owning season’s bests of 5.88m or better, the men’s pole vault promises to be one of the most keenly contested events at the IAAF World Indoor Championships.

Indeed, seven men cleared that height in a single competition, the All Stars meeting in Clermont-Ferrand at the end of February, in what was, for many of the athletes, a final tune-up.

It was the USA’s Sam Kendricks who won in France with a vault of 5.93m to top the world lists, a performance matched by France’s world record-holder Renauld Lavillenie, and it is those two that head to Birmingham with the highest hopes of taking gold.

Both men have fond memories of competing in the United Kingdom, with each having secured global titles on British soil. 25-year-old US vaulter Kendricks won in London at the IAAF World Championships in 2017, while the 31-year-old French athlete became Olympic champion in 2012.

Lavillenie is the defending world indoor champion, having vaulted a championship record of 6.02m to take the title in Portland two years ago, and his best performances, including his world record 6.16m, have come indoors. Kendricks, meanwhile, has had the better of the two athletes’ recent head to heads.

Elsewhere, Poland’s world silver medallist Piotr Lisek has vaulted 5.91m in 2018 and will hope to do better than his third-place finish from 2016. Brazil’s Thiago Braz has this year cleared 5.90m, his best mark since winning the Olympic title on home soil in 2016.

Germany’s 2013 world champion Raphael Holzdeppe, Poland’s 2011 world champion Pawel Wojciechowski and Sweden’s world U20 record-holder Armand Duplantis have all jumped 5.88m this year, while 2014 world indoor champion Konstantinos Filippidis, with a season’s best of 5.85m, is also in fine form.

Canada’s 2015 world champion Shawn Barber vaulted 5.81m at Pole Vault Stars and can never be discounted.

Dean Hardman for the IAAF