Mondo helps bring pole vaulting to the people in Prague

Jan Kudlicka
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Pole vaulter Jan Kudlicka was presented with the Fair Play prize by the Czech Olympic Committee

Street athletics events have become part of the sport’s landscape in the 21st century but before the new millennium dawned, they were few and far between with only a few exceptions, but those included the Prague Pole Vault – Pražská Tyčka – which was inaugurated in 1992.

The 28th edition of this competition, which has been assisted ever since the start by the European Athletics Green Inspiration partner Mondo, took place on Thursday afternoon in the Czech capital’s Jan Palach Square, where it has been staged for the last two years after moving from its traditional location in Wenceslas Square.

Spectators in the picturesque central Prague location close to the Vitava River, with the famous Rudolfinum Concert Hall as a backdrop were treated to some outstanding vaulting particularly in the women’s event which saw USA’s Katie Nageotte clear a meeting record and outdoor personal best of 4.81m, a fine birthday present as the American also celebrated turning 28 on Thursday.

The top European was Czech international and 2017 Prague Pole Vault winner Romana Malacova, who cleared 4.56m before failing at a personal best height 4.66m and finished third.

“I think I was just a little afraid (at 4.66m). I needed to be more psyched to give everything at this height but I think it’s there,” Malacova told local reporters.

Just behind Malacova there was a personal best for the rising 19-year-old Russian vaulter Yelizaveta Bondarenko, competing as an Authorised Neutral Athlete, who cleared 4.51m to confirm that she could be in the hunt for a medal at next month’s European Athletics U23 Championships in Gavle, Sweden.

In the men’s event, local star and two-time European Athletics Championships medallist Jan Kudlicka won the Prague competition for 10th time, clearing 5.55m on his first attempt to win on countback from Russia’s IIya Mudrov, who also negotiated 5.55m but had more failures at the deciding height.

The Prague Pole Vault is one of a number of street athletics meetings or specialist competitions – like the Banska Bystrica indoor high jump competition in Slovakia – assisted by Mondo which can provide

high-performing, fully certified surfaces for out-of-stadium events and temporarily install them where they are needed.

Mondo’s movable, modular products include tracks and modules for sprinting and high/triple/long jumps, and corresponding equipment sets to take athletics to the streets and create a memorable and thrilling event.