PARIS (AFP) – The world’s leading three decathletes will face off in a transcontinental virtual competition on Sunday, the latest in a string of innovative live-streamed events with track and field hamstrung by the coronavirus pandemic.
Decathlon world record-holder Kevin Mayer of France, Germany’s reigning world champion Niklas Kaul and Estonian Maicel Uibo, the 2019 world silver medallist, will square off from their respective training bases in Montpellier (France), Mainz (Germany), and Clermont, Florida.
The format of the competition will be a triathlon starting with the pole vault, before moving on to the shot put and finally a shuttle-run discipline.
In the pole vault, the athletes will attempt to clear 4.00 metres as many times as possible during a 10-minute period. The shot put sees them challenged to go beyond the 12-metre mark as many times as possible over 10 minutes, while a gruelling shuttle run rounds off the competition, a point given for every 20 metres covered in a five-minute period.
“The format will be a little demanding because we are not used to the (endurance aspect) of it,” Mayer said.
“I think the three of us know that the last part will be the hardest. I’ve not done this particular ‘discipline’ in my life, but I know it’s going to be hard.”
The latest edition of the so-called “Ultimate Garden Clash” follows men and women’s pole vault competitions. “I’m excited to see what our best decathletes bring to the table because the pole vaulters really put on a show,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.
“I love how creative our athletes have been in coming up with new competition formats that we can stage safely and broadcast to our fans even while adhering to the many public health restrictions in place around the world.”