Armand Duplantis in action in Clermont-Ferrand (© AFP / Getty Images)
Pole vault sensation Armand Duplantis maintained his incredible run of form with a 6.01m victory at the Perche Elite Tour meeting in Clermont-Ferrand on Sunday (23).
The 20-year-old Swedish vaulter has been the talk of the sport for the past few weeks following his string of breath-taking performances on the World Athletics Indoor Tour, including world records of 6.17m in Torun and 6.18m in Glasgow. After a 6.07m victory in Lievin earlier in the week, Duplantis stayed in France to take part in Lavillenie’s meeting in Clermont Ferrand.
Up against Lavillenie and two-time world champion Sam Kendricks, Duplantis matched his principal rivals at 5.65m and 5.87m – heights that the three men all cleared on their first attempts.
Duplantis and Kendricks passed at 5.94m, while Lavillenie went over it on his first try, achieving his highest vault since the 2018 European Championships. The bar then went up to 6.01m and Duplantis once again sailed clear with distance to spare. Lavillenie and Kendricks exited the competition at that height, finishing second and third respectively.
The entire focus of the arena was then on Duplantis and his attempts at a world record height of 6.19m. All three of his tries were close, seemingly having enough height but just brushing the bar off on his way down. Nevertheless, he ends the season by becoming the first man in history to put together five consecutive indoor competitions at 6.00m or higher.
USA’s Sandi Morris also maintained her winning streak, winning the women’s pole vault in Clermont-Ferrand with 4.80m.
The world silver medallist cleared all heights up to and including 4.74m on her first try with 2015 world champion Yarisley Silva and Slovenia’s Tina Sutej matching her at that height, a national record for the latter.
Silva and Sutej were ultimately unsuccessful at 4.80m, while Morris got over it on her third try before unsuccessfully attempting 4.93m.
Zhoya breaks world U20 indoor 60m hurdles record
Prodigious teenager Sasha Zhoya provided the highlight on the first day of the French U20 Championships in Miramas on Saturday (22), smashing the world U20 60m hurdles record with 7.34.
The 17-year-old had threatened the mark in the earlier rounds, clocking 7.53 in the heats and 7.43 in the semifinals, just 0.03 shy of the record set by USA’s Trey Cunningham in 2017. But just 70 minutes later, Zhoya was back out on track and went even faster, winning in 7.34.
“This is the performance I wanted,” said Zhoya. “I was hoping to dip below 7.40, so I can’t be happier. The Miramas audience pushed me a lot; it is thanks to them that I beat the world record today.”
Zhoya, a talented all-rounder, also holds the world U18 bests for the 110m hurdles at 12.87 and in the pole vault with 5.56m. Last year he also scored 7271 in the decathlon and clocked a 100m PB of 10.41, both performances ranking him among the top 10 on the 2019 U18 lists.
Mahuchikh and Mihambo take national titles
On a busy weekend for national indoor championships in Europe, one of the highlights came at the Ukrainian Indoor Championships in Sumy.
World silver medallist Yaroslava Mahuchikh won the high jump with 2.01m, sailing way clear of the bar. Her winning mark is just one centimetre shy of the world U20 indoor record (pending ratification) she set in Karlsruhe last month. Iryna Gerashchenko finished second with 1.93m.
World long jump champion Malaika Mihambo was the leading entrant at the German Indoor Championships in Leipzig and she didn’t disappoint.
On the first day of action she set a 60m PB of 7.22 to finish second, just 0.01 behind winner Lisa Maria Kwayie. In a close race, Lisa Mayer was third in 7.24.
Mihambo was back in action one day later in her specialist event. It took her a couple of rounds to get going, but she jumped into the lead in round three and saved her best effort, 6.77m, for her final attempt.
Elsewhere, two-time world champion David Storl won the shot put with 20.58m, while Bo Kanda Lita Baehre took the pole vault title with 5.70m.
An enthralling men’s 800m race highlighted the second day of the British Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
After a swift 1:46.84 clocking in the heats, his fastest indoor performance for six years, two-time world indoor bronze medallist Andrew Osagie looked to be the favourite for the men’s 800m title. World 1500m finalist Josh Kerr took out the pace in the final, passing 400m in 52.43. He continued to lead going into the final lap when second-placed runner Alex Botterill tripped, impeding Guy Learmonth and Osagie.
Learmonth and Osagie managed to recover and made up ground on Kerr, eventually passing him in the closing stages. Learmonth won in a PB of 1:46.89 with Osagie taking second place in 1:46.98 while Kerr was third (1:47.21).
Tom Bosworth broke his own British indoor 5000m race walk record, clocking 18:20.97 to move into the top 10 on the world indoor all-time list.
Ama Pipi won the women’s 200m in 23.23 while Jessie Knight, winner of the 400m at the recent Muller Grand Prix Glasgow, once again won over two laps, this time in 52.76. Elsewhere, Abigail Irozuru took the long jump title with 6.60m.
Since breaking Dafne Schippers’ national U20 indoor 60m record last year at the age of 15, Dutch fans have keenly followed the progress of N’Ketia Seedo.
Now aged 16, she won her first national senior title at this weekend’s Dutch Indoor Championships in Apeldoorn, reducing her own national U20 indoor record to 7.24, a European age-16 best.
Other highlights in Apeldoorn came from Rutger Koppelaar, winner of the men’s pole vault with 5.75m, and Tony Van Diepen, victor in the men’s 400m in 46.44.
Former 800m specialist Andreas Almgren was the standout performer at the Swedish Indoor Championships in Vaxjo.
Since winning world U20 bronze in 2014 and clocking an 800m PB of 1:45.59 in 2015, Almgren has been hampered by injury problems. Now seemingly back to full health, he made a staggering 3000m debut in Vaxjo, breaking the Swedish indoor record with 7:48.34.
European indoor silver medallist Thobias Montler crept closer to the national indoor record, winning the long jump with 8.22m. Wictor Petersson also climbed up to No.2 on the national indoor all-time list, taking the shot put title with an outright PB of 20.89m.
The 400m sprinters provided the best marks of the Czech Indoor Championships in Ostrava.
Three-time world indoor champion Pavel Maslak led a high-quality men’s final in which the three medallists all finished inside 46.5. Maslak won in 46.12, just ahead of Michal Desensky (46.36) and Patrik Sorm (46.41).
Lada Vondrova, aged just 20, won the women’s event in an indoor PB of 51.82.
Elsewhere, Tomas Stanek won the men’s shot put with 21.18m.
Nilsen breaks Duplantis’s collegiate record
When Armand Duplantis set a collegiate indoor pole vault record of 5.92m last year, many probably expected it to last for at least several years. But exactly one year to day of Duplantis breaking the record, South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen bettered it with 5.93m at the Nebraska Tune-Up meeting in Lincoln.
The Pan-American champion had the competition won with a first-time clearance at 5.53m. With everyone else having exited the contest, he went on to clear 5.63m, 5.73m and 5.84m, an indoor PB. He then raised the bar to 5.93m and got over it on his second try.
Nilsen, who holds the North American U20 records outdoors and indoors, now moves to equal fourth on the senior US indoor all-time list.