Swiss to feature pole vault contests in shopping center

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              Armand Duplantis of Sweden competes in the pole vault event, during the Impossible Games 2020 in Bislett Stadium, Oslo, Thursday, June 11, 2020. (Cornelius Poppe/NTB scanpix via AP)
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Switzerland will feature pole vault contests in Lausanne’s downtown shopping area in September as live athletics makes its gradual return in the pandemic.

The Athletissima meeting on the global Diamond League series will stage outdoor men’s and women’s events, organizers said on Tuesday.

Men’s world record holder Mondo Duplantis and women’s 2016 Olympic champion Katerini Stefanidi head lineups for the evening events on Sept. 2.

The top Americans, world champion Sam Kendricks and Olympic silver medallist Sandi Morris, are also slated to take part.

“These are the first official outdoor pole vault competitions at the highest level to be officially confirmed worldwide till now,” organizers said in a statement.

The athletes have been promised appearance fees plus 54,000 Swiss francs ($57,000) in prize money to compete on separate and parallel tracks, with the men and women taking turns to compete.

Switzerland currently limits gatherings to 1,000 people, though organizers said the venue capacity “could be increased to 5,000” if federal restrictions are eased.

Pole vault led international athletics out of the sports shutdown with “Ultimate Garden Clash” competitions staged remotely last month.

The Athletissima was originally scheduled for Aug. 20.