Unstoppable Duplantis breaks pole vault record again in Xiamen – Sport

XIAMEN: Sweden’s Armand Duplantis put down a marker ahead of this year’s Paris Olympics as the Swede broke his own pole vault world record with a 6.24 metres effort in the first Diamond League meeting of the 2024 season on Saturday.

Duplantis bettered his previous mark of 6.23 metres set at the Eugene Diamond League finale in September, clearing the bar with ease before leaping up off the sponge mat below and racing off in celebration at his first outdoor event of the year.

It was the eighth time that Duplantis broke the world record and the 24-year-old, who was the only man to clear six metres at the Egret Stadium, said he could do even better.

“It’s definitely possible, conditions willing. I’m going to try to maximise the most out of every day,” Duplantis said. “There’s definitely more to give. I don’t think the jumping was really perfect today even leading up to the 6.24. The 6.24 felt really nice. I think there’s still some way to go and still more to push and some higher heights in me for sure.”

The Olympic and two-time world outdoor champion had added a second world indoor title to his impressive resume in March, and he is set to head into his second Games in July and August as the firm favourite.

American Sam Hendricks, who finished second with a best of 5.82m, a massive 42 centimetres adrift, heaped praise on the Louisiana-born Duplantis.

“He’s got God’s hand on his back,” Hendricks said. “I’ve been a champion before. ‘Mondo’ has been my vice-champion. I’ve seen him from [when he was] a 14-year-old come all the way up. I’m ever joyous to be second behind a world record-holder. I know he works so hard. He goes all over the place and he’s becoming the true champion we all want him to be.”

In the women’s 200m Australian Torrie Lewis enjoyed a stunning Diamond League debut, as the 19-year-old beat a strong field of American rivals that included Sha’Carri Richardson to claim gold with an effort of 22.96 from lane nine.

Richardson, winner of the 200m bronze at last year’s world championships, finished second in 22.99 ahead of her compatriots Tamara Clark, Anavia Battle and Twanisha Terry.

Lewis said she was shocked, not having expected to win against a high-calibre field.

“No, not at all! My goal was honestly just to hold on as long as I could. I was in lane nine so I knew they’d all be chasing me,” Lewis said.

World champion Marileidy Paulino earlier captured the first track gold of the Diamond League season in the women’s 400m as the Dominican eased home in 50.08 seconds ahead of Natalia Kaczmarek (50.29) and Britton Wilson (51.26).

Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn then set the pace in the women’s 100m hurdles, the Puerto Rican cruising to victory in 12.45 seconds. Tobi Amusan of Nigeria, the world-record holder in the event, only managed fifth place in 12.58 seconds.

In the men’s 100m event Christian Coleman began his Diamond League title defence with a solid sprint of 10.13 seconds to beat fellow American Fred Kerley who came in at 10.17.

Gudaf Tsegay won the women’s 1500m in 3:50.30 — the third-fastest time ever behind Kenyan Faith Kipyegon’s world record 3:49.11 and Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba’s 3:50.07 — while Canada’s Marco Arop claimed the men’s 800m in a rapid 1:43.61.

In the field, American Shelby McEwen claimed victory with a best of 2.27m ahead of Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim in the men’s high jump and Cuban-born Portuguese Pedro Pichardo won the men’s triple jump with 17.51m.

China had one winner in the shape of Olympic champion Lijao Gong in the women’s shot put (19.72m), with local athletes having another chance to shine as the Diamond League moves on to Suzhou next weekend.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2024

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