Athletics: Backyard pole vault competition takes off in 'Ultimate Garden Clash'

The world's best pole vaulters have staged a unique event from their own backyards to provide light-hearted entertainment for sports-craved fans.

On Monday (NZ time), former Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie, reigning world record holder Mondo Duplantis and current world champion Sam Kendricks battled remotely in a contest billed as the 'Ultimate Garden Clash'.

Streamed on World Athletics' social-media platforms, the three vaulters aimed to complete as many 5m jumps as possible over 30 minutes.

Each athlete had vaulting facilities set up in their own gardens. Lavillenie was vaulting at his Clermont-Ferrand home in France, while  Duplantis and Kendricks were in Louisiana and Mississippi respectively. 

In the end, France's Lavillenie and Sweden's Lavillenie couldn't be separated, clearing the bar 36 times to finish joint winners, with Kendricks completing 26. 

"I got the same feeling as if I was going for the world championship," Lavillenie said afterwards. 

"Honestly, I was really missing the competition feeling and I'm really happy to be part of it."

Duplantis, who set consecutive world records of 6.17m and 6.18m earlier this year, wanted to go into extra time, but eventually settled for the shared victory with the previous recordholder.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the event was a "brilliant initiative, great fun and really innovative".

"My thanks go to the athletes, their families and the World Athletics team for bringing live athletics back during lockdown," he added. 

According to the Guardian, World Athletics is exploring the possibility of holding other garden competitions for events such as shot put, high jump and long jump.

Duplantis and Lavillenie will renew their rivalry next month, as part of an exhibition event in Oslo on June 12 (NZ time), dubbed the 'Impossible Games'.