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Athletics: Blech stars in drive-in pole vaulting event

(Reuters) - Fans deprived of live athletics action were treated to a mini pole vaulting competition on Friday as German Torben Blech won the Flight Night event at a drive-in cinema in Duesseldorf, Germany.

In the absence of world record holder Armand Duplantis, Blech cleared 5.55 metres as pole vaulters competed in the first sports event in front of spectators in Germany since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fans, abiding by social distancing rules, watched from their cars, either live or on a giant screen as the night settled on Duesseldorf’s Autokino.

Some honked their support and showed patience as the event, which featured mostly second-string pole vaulters, was suspended for 20 minutes because of strong winds.

The event, sponsored by PSD Bank, helped raise money for a child cancer association at the Duesseldorf’s university hospital.

Athletic competitions resumed on Thursday, but with no spectators, with the Oslo leg of the Diamond League.

Swede Duplantis, whose world record stands at 6.18m, won the pole vaulting event by clearing 5.86m.

Writing by Julien Pretot; editing by Pritha Sarkar

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