Swede Duplantis among the big names to light up ‘Impossible Games’

Sweden's Armand Duplantis reacts as he clears six meters to win the men's pole vault final at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow 2020 athletics in Glasgow on February 15, 2020. Sweden's Armand Duplantis set a world pole vault record of 6.18 metres at an indoor meeting in Glasgow on Saturday, adding one centimetre to the record he set in Poland. PHOTO | ANDY BUCHANAN | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Oslo meeting director and Bislett Alliance CEO Steinar Hoen said the athletes were “hungry for competitions”.
  • “We want to give them a high-class event. We have had a very positive dialogue with both the municipality of Oslo and the infection prevention superior in Oslo, and have confirmed that the concept is well within the government’s infection control requirements,” he added.

Many other big names will spice up Thursday’s exhibition event dubbed “Impossible Games” in Norway. 

The games will also see ‘Team Cheruiyot’ made up of Kenyan runners take to the track to compete in Mourie Plant Memorial race over 2,000 metres from 9.40pm on Thursday night.

The 2019 Doha World Championships pole vault bronze medalist, Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis from Sweden will take on Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie, his predecessor as the world record-holder in the specialty. 

Duplantis carries his red-hot form to “The Impossible Games,” having broken the world record twice this year.

Duplantis scaled 6.17 metres on February 8 in Torun, Poland, a feat that saw the 20-year-old American-born Swede break the six-year-old old record held by Frenchman Lavillenie. 

Duplantis then improved his own record on February 15 in Glasgow, scaling 6.18m. 

Set world record

Lavillenie’s world record of 6.16m was set February 14, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine. 

Lavillenie won gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games but settled for silver in 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. 

He has never won a world title but he claimed silver medal in 2013 World Championships, and four bronze medals in 2017 edition of the games in London, 2015 (Beijing), 2011 (Daegu) and 2009 (Berlin). 

World champion Daniel Stahl will compete in the discus, while two-time world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm will attempt to break the world’s best time in the 300m hurdles.

Two-time defending world champion in 400m hurdles, Warholm, has a personal best 34.26 seconds in the 300m hurdles, which is actually faster than the current world record, although he registered it indoors. 

He will try to break the current record of 34.48 while running solo at the Bislett Stadium in Oslo on Thursday. 

The women’s 300m hurdles race will be a three-way clash between European champion, Lea Sprunger, Olympic silver medalist, Sara Slott Petersen and Norwegian record-holder, Amalie Iuel.

Norwegian cross-country skiing star, Therese Johaug, will run a solo 10,000m race. As a skier, Johaug has three Olympic medals and multiple world championship golds to her name, but last year she surprised the world by adding a track and field victory to her resume when she won the Norwegian 10,000m national championships in 32:20.86. 

In the Maurie Plant Memorial Race, “Team Ingebrigtsen” comprising Ingebrigtsen brothers - Henrik, Filip, and Jakob - will battle “Team Cheruiyot” that will have former 1,500m world champion Elijah Manang’oi and reigning 1,500m world champion Timothy Cheruiyot.

The Ingebrigtsens will also have fellow Norwegians Narve Gilje Nordås and Per Svela in their team, while “Team Cheruiyot” will be joined by Edwin Melly, Victor Keter and Timothy Sein.

All the 10 runners will go out at once (the race will be broadcast live on a split screen), but three athletes must finish from each team.

The team with the fastest cumulative time from their top-three runners wins.

The hour-long event will be shown live by Norway’s public broadcaster NRK, and will be partly financed by the Norwegian National Athletics Association and World Athletics. 

“This is really positive news for athletes and fans and promises, even in this early stage, to be another great night of athletics. Congratulations to the Oslo Bislett Games for dreaming this up and following it through, working within the pandemic guidelines set out in Norway,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe told Diamond League website.

“We are delighted to support the event by releasing the funds World Athletics makes to each Diamond League event but with one caveat, which is that the entire amount we are contributing goes to prize money for the athletes competing,” he added.

Oslo meeting director and Bislett Alliance CEO Steinar Hoen said the athletes were “hungry for competitions”.

“We want to give them a high-class event. We have had a very positive dialogue with both the municipality of Oslo and the infection prevention superior in Oslo, and have confirmed that the concept is well within the government’s infection control requirements,” he added.