Report28 May 2024

Duplantis and Caudery defy conditions, De Grasse does double in Ostrava


Mondo Duplantis in action in Ostrava (© Sona Maleterova)

It might have been a blustery evening in Ostrava but that didn’t seem to matter to Mondo Duplantis and Molly Caudery, who remained resolute to win their pole vault contests during the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting on Tuesday (28).

Duplantis secured a six-metre clearance before three attempts at another world record, while Caudery achieved a meeting record and the highest women’s outdoor vault in the world so far this year to triumph at the Ostrava Golden Spike in Czechia.

There were some thrilling battles on the track, too, with Andre De Grasse getting a sprint double, Steven Gardiner extending his win streak, Ciara Mageean digging deep and Djamel Sedjati storming to an unchallenged world lead.

But in the men’s pole vault, Olympic and world champion Duplantis had the contest won after just two jumps, as he cleared 5.62m and 5.82m on his first attempts.

It took him all three tries to get over 6.00m but that didn’t deter the 24-year-old, who then asked for the bar to be raised to 6.25m – a single centimetre higher than the world record he set on his season opener in Xiamen on 20 April.

While his third try at 6.25m – which would have been the ninth world record of his career so far – was close, it wasn’t to be and Duplantis walked away, ready to try again on home soil in Stockholm on Sunday.

The next five athletes all cleared 5.62m, topped by Ethan Cormont of France on countback.

"Of course, it was a bit more difficult for all of us in the field because of the weather. The pole vault is a very sensitive event when it is cold and windy," said Duplantis. "But I just tried to jump the best I could. I was very surprised with my third attempt on 6.25m. I knew that it would take the best jump of my life to get this and it was actually really a good one. This gives me big confidence going forward and to the next competitions."

World indoor champion Caudery also dominated the women’s contest, as she cleared 4.84m on her third try to add a centimetre to the meeting record set by Stacy Dragila in 2004 and achieve a mark that only she has surpassed so far this year, with her indoor clearances of 4.86m and 4.85m.

She then had two unsuccessful attempts at a would-have-been national record of 4.92m. Caudery won by 20cm, as 2016 Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi secured the runner-up spot with a second time clearance at 4.64m.

The men’s javelin closed the programme and that was won by Germany’s Julian Weber to deny home favourite Jakub Vadlejch. Weber’s best of 87.26m came in the second round and that was more than a metre farther than Vadlejch, the Olympic and world medallist, could manage as he settled for second with 86.08m from his first throw.

World champion Haruka Kitaguchi won a much closer women’s competition as she threw 60.47m to also deny a home win, Petra Sicakova finishing second with 60.42m.

Italy’s Leonardo Fabbri, who threw 22.95m in Savona recently, got another 22 metre-plus performance to take the win in the shot put. He might have only surpassed that barrier once in the competition but it was enough, as he threw 22.40m in the second round, putting him ahead of Jordan Geist, who went beyond 22 metres for the first time with 22.09m in the final round.

In other field event action, Poland’s Norbert Kobielski and USA’s Shelby McEwen shared the high jump win as they both cleared 2.24m.

Sprint double for De Grasse

Canada’s De Grasse is a multiple global medallist in both the 100m and 200m and he won both of those events in Ostrava. First, the Olympic 200m champion took on his fellow Olympic gold medallist Marcell Jacobs, who won the 100m in Tokyo, in the shorter event and beat the Italian, 10.10 to 10.19 (0.0m/s). Splitting the pair was Ryiem Forde, who ran 10.17 for second place.

De Grasse returned to the track 80 minutes later for his specialist event and he won that too, clocking 20.09 (0.4m/s) to triumph clear ahead of Andrew Hudson who ran 20.56.

Poland’s world indoor 60m silver medallist Ewa Swoboda also made a statement in the women’s 100m, winning on her individual season debut in 11.05 (0.7m/s) ahead of Gina Mariam Bass Bittaye (11.14).

Olympic champion Gardiner maintained his unbeaten run in the 400m, but the race came down to a thrilling finish. The Bahamian 28-year-old, who also claimed the world title in 2019, went out hard and looked ready to cruise to victory. But as he began to tire, world indoor champion Alexander Doom launched his attack, and the Belgian finished just 0.05 back – 44.39 to 44.44. It was a season’s best for Gardiner and he led Doom to a PB that missed the Belgian record by just 0.01.

There was also a big PB by the runner up in the women’s 400m. Poland’s world silver medallist Natalia Kaczmarek was well in control as she strode to a season’s best of 50.09 to win but chasing her over the line was Czechia’s 18-year-old Lurdes Gloria Manuel, who took more than half a second off her own national U20 record with 50.59.

Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji narrowly denied another win for Poland in the 100m hurdles, crossing the line in 12.68 (-0.6m/s) to pip world indoor bronze medallist Pia Skrzyszowska by just 0.03.

Cathelijn Peeters, a member of the world 4x400m title-winning Dutch teams in Budapest and Glasgow, set a PB of 54.31 to triumph in the 400m hurdles, while the men’s event was won by Italy’s Alessandro Sibilio in 48.25.

A world lead was set in the men’s 800m and Algeria’s Sedjati did it in style. Surging off the final bend, he clearly had the win well secured but that wasn’t enough for the 2022 world silver medallist and he only seemed to push harder the closer he got to the line. Sprinting away, he stormed over the finish in 1:43.51 for the fastest time in the world so far this season, winning by more than two seconds ahead of France’s Gabriel Tual (1:45.79).

While Sedjati’s win never seemed in doubt, Mageean fought back for hers in the 1500m. The world fourth-place finisher was back in seventh as they reached the final bend but timing her kick to perfection, she passed her rivals down the home straight and eventually pipped Sarah Healy to lead an Irish one-two, 4:01.98 to 4:02.12.

The men’s 1500m closed the track action and there Italy’s Federico Riva clinched the win in a PB of 3:33.53, just ahead of Raphael Pallitsch who set an Austrian record of 3:33.59. A series of other PBs followed, including 3:34.32 by Ireland’s Luke McCann in third.


Keep an eye on World Athletics Inside Track for highlights from the Ostrava Golden Spike