STOCKHOLM: Swedish Olympic champion Armand Duplantis set an outdoor pole vault record of 6.16 metres at the Diamond League meet on Thursday, breaking his previous best of 6.15 but four centimetres short of his world record, set indoors, of 6.20m.
The 22-year-old soared to an easy victory in the competition before having the bar set at 6.16, and he cruised over it at the second attempt to delight the home crowd.
“It’s so, so special for me,” a delighted Duplantis told broadcaster SVT. “My family, all those who are close to me, the Swedish people (who were here), they’re the ones who mean most to me.”
American Chris Nilsen tried to push Duplantis all the way, but the Swede responded to every successful jump by his rival before taking a run at the old outdoor mark.
“It was like a little blackout, it’s a shame but I can’t remember too much about it. I had a fairly stiff pole, I tried to get a good run-up but after that it was a blackout,” Duplantis said about the final jump. “When I woke up I was on a mission, it’s important to me. I wanted to defend my title, especially here.”
The men’s 100m race was robbed of its biggest name when Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs, who was due to make his first Diamond League start of the season, pulled out due to injury.
In his absence, South Africa’s Akani Simbine cruised to victory in a time of 10.02 seconds at the final Diamond League meet ahead of the World Championships, which get underway on July 15 in Eugene, Oregon.
Jacobs’ coach Paolo Camossi played down the latest setback for his sprinter, who kicked off the season with world 60m indoor gold in Belgrade before a thigh injury in mid-May disrupted track plans.
“The situation is under control,” Camossi said. “He has a little pain in his glute muscle. It would have been too risky to run today, that’s why we decided to withdraw him from the 100m. The risk is just too high with the eye on the world championships in Eugene next month.”
On a muggy night at the stadium built for the 1912 Summer Olympics, Femke Bol set a Diamond League record in the women’s 400m hurdles, blazing away from the rest of the field to win in a time of 50.27.
Alison Dos Santos of Brazil crushed the field to win the men’s 400m hurdles in a time of 46.80, becoming the first man to break the 47-second barrier this season.
Dominic Lobalu also set the best time of the season with a blistering spurt on the home straight to win the men’s 3,000m in a time of 7:29.48, seven-hundreths of a second ahead of Jacob Kiplimo.
Despite a banner night for Duplantis, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Swedes as their Olympic discus champion Daniel Stahl came in a disappointing third, behind Kristjan Ceh and Mykolas Alekna.
World champion Dina Asher-Smith of Britain edged Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji, the world indoor 60m champion, in a photo-finish in the women’s 200m, both sprinters credited with 22.37sec.
India’s Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra threw a national record of 89.94m, but that was only good enough for second place behind Anderson Peters of Grenada (90.31).
Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2022