The Meeting de PARIS 2019, set to be hosted on Aug. 24 at the Charléty Stadium, has some interesting clashes in the pipeline between the world’s top athletes. In the pole vault competition, Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie will be up against the reigning European champion and current world ranked number 1, Swedish athlete Mondo Duplantis. In the second of the two battles, Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, reigning European champion, will be challenging the 2015 world champion, Russian Sergey Shubenkov, who will be up against the Olympic silver medallist, Spaniard Orlando Ortega.

Renaud Lavillenie VS Mondo Duplantis

A 13-year separation.

Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie will celebrate his 33rd birthday on Sept. 18. Armand Duplantis, now known solely by his nickname, “Mondo”, is not yet 20. The former wasted no time settling himself into position at the very top of his game as he cleared 6m for the first time before the age of 23 (6.01m on 21 June 2009 in Leira). However, the Swede has proven to be unbeatable in the game of precocity. At 18, he secured a personal best of 6.05m and bagged the European outdoor title in Berlin last year.

Two male record holders. Both Renaud Lavillenie and Mondo Duplantis take up several lines on the long list of pole vault records. The Frenchman has held the world and European records since 15 February 2014, with a jump of 6.16m. The Swede has treated himself to the junior world record (6.05m on 12 August 2018), as well as those from the world U20 (5.82m last year) and U18 championships (5.30m in 2015).

In the Diamond League, Renaud Lavillenie has no equal. Since the creation of the IAAF circuit, in 2010, he has racked up a total of 37 victories, six of which were in Paris, which equates to an average of over four successes a season. Considerably younger and hence entering the circuit later, Mondo Duplantis has just one victory in the Diamond League, secured last year in Stockholm, in Sweden, his mother’s homeland (his father, Greg Duplantis, is a former American pole-vaulter), for which he has opted to compete in international competitions.

In 2019, the youngster has the edge. Mondo Duplantis hasn’t waited for the summer to switch things up a gear. The Swede cleared 6m on 11 May 2019 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he grew up and did his studies. He is world number one. Renaud Lavillenie, hampered for a long time by tendonitis of the semitendinosus, is set to kick off his outdoor season on Friday 14 June at the Pierre-Bénite Meeting near Lyon.

Pascal Martinot-Lagarde VS Sergey Shubenkov VS Orlando Ortega

The podium in Berlin 2018. Last August, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde became European champion in the 110m hurdles with a time of 13”17, ahead of Sergey Shubenkov (13”17) and Orlando Ortega (13”34). One year later, the three European medallists are coming together on the Charléty Stadium track for the revenge match. Doubtless that on home soil, ‘PML’ will be keen to excel once more…

Three-hundredths of a second between them. World champion in 2015 and double European champion (2012 and 2014), Sergey Shubenkov is the 8th best athlete of all time in the discipline, thanks to a time of 12’’92, posted on 2 July 2018 in Székesfehérvár, Hungary. Orlando Ortega is ranked 12th. His personal best, a time of 12’’94, was achieved on 4 July 2015 in the Stade de France, during the MEETING de PARIS. At the time, he was flying the Cuban flag. Today, he’s representing Spain. With a personal best of 12’’95, set on 18 July 2014 in Monaco, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde ranks 15th best athlete in the world in history.

Son and grandson of. The Russian and the Spaniard both have family in athletics, albeit on the female side. Shubenkova, Sergey’s mother, was a silver medallist in the heptathlon at the European championships in 1986. Cristina Hechavarría, Orlando’s grandmother, secured gold in the Pan American Games in 1967 in the 4x100m Cuban relay. She was his first coach.

Advantage Spain. In the Diamond League, Sergey Shubenkov has racked up a gilt-edged track record. Aged 28, the Russian has taken the win 8 times on the IAAF circuit, between 2013 and 2019. Added to that, he won the Diamond League ranking in 2017 and 2018. At just 27 years of age, Orlando Ortega has bagged 9 Diamond League victories, between 2015 and 2018. In contrast to his Russian rival, he has taken victory at the MEETING de PARIS, back in 2015. 6-time winner of the Diamond League, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde topped the overall ranking in 2014, the year when he dominated the competition in Eugene, Oslo, Lausanne, Monaco and Brussels.