Ace pole vaulter from the United States of America (USA) Sam Kendricks has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. As a result, the three-time indoor and six-time outdoor national champion won’t be seen in action at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Kendricks was one of the top medal prospects for the States as he had also won the bronze medal in the men’s pole vault event at the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, his father/coach has confirmed the 28-year-old’s non-participation at the Tokyo 2020 via the popular social media platform – Instagram.
In his recent post, Kendricks’ father wrote: “Today in Tokyo, officials informed Sam that his daily test for Cov 19 was positive. So he is out of the competition. He feels fine and has no symptoms. Love you son. See you soon. #rancho_olympia #polevaulting”
Matt Ludwig is the stand-by pole vaulter and will be seen in action if he is able to get to Japan and clear testing in time.
Kendricks has been in a tremendous form of late as he cinched the gold medal at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar while marking 5.97 m in the finals.
Armand Duplantis emerges as red-hot favourite
Kendricks’ exit has emerged as a positive sign for Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis as he currently finds himself at the top spot in the race for the gold medal. The Swedish athlete had finished just behind Sam, clinching silver at the Doha Championships. Since then, he has won gold medals at the 2020 World Athletics Indoor Tour (Torun), 2020 World Athletics Indoor Tour (Glasgow), 2020 Diamond League (Rome) and 2021 European Indoor Championships (Torun).
Athletics at Tokyo 2020 will be held during the last ten days and are set to begin from July 30 with the qualifications and heats rounds. Coming to pole vault, the spot will mark its presence from July 31 with the men’s event at the National Stadium.