The organisers of the Perche Elite Tour in Rouen have assembled glittering line-ups replete with reigning global and continental champions for both the men’s and women’s pole vault competitions on 6 February.
Renaud Lavillenie was one of the first big names to be confirmed for the event but the line-up has been further embellished by the recent additions of two-time world champion Sam Kendricks from the United States and world record-holder Armand Duplantis from Sweden to the ranks.
Duplantis hasn’t been beaten since Kendricks defeated the Swede to win his second world title in Doha in the autumn of 2019 but Duplantis went on to compile arguably the greatest ever season by a pole vaulter in 2020, taking the world record to 6.18m and clearing six metres or higher in 10 of his 16 competitions.
On the same day Duplantis broke the world record for the first time in his career with 6.17m at the Copernicus Cup in Torun, Kendricks cleared an almost unnoticed 6.01m at this meeting in Rouen to claim his second successive victory in the Kindarena.
Lavillenie missed the majority of the 2020 season due to injury but the 34-year-old made a sterling start to his indoor campaign on Saturday evening, clearing 5.92m off a 16-step approach in Bordeaux to match his best ever season’s opener. Lavillenie also holds the meeting record in Rouen with a 6.04m clearance set in 2014 and has outlined that one of his goals this year is to return to regular six metre-form.
In the women’s competition, reigning world indoor champion Sandi Morris from the United States takes on her long-time rival Ekaterini Stefanidi from Greece, the reigning Olympic and two-time European pole vault champion.
The two leading protagonists have both taken victories in Rouen over the years. Morris prevailed in 2017 with a 4.57m clearance, twelve months before Stefanidi won with a meeting record of 4.82m.
European indoor and outdoor medallist Holly Bradshaw from Great Britain has also been confirmed. Bradshaw won at this meeting twelve months ago with a 4.63m clearance.
Due to the prevailing safety and sanitary rules, this year's event will be taking place behind closed doors.