Duplantis vaults his way into historyApril 3, 2017
It was moment Sweden´s Armand Duplantis will never forget and a signal to the sport of what a star he is set to become. On Saturday at the Texas Relays in Austin, Duplantis broke the World Under-20 pole vault record by soaring over at 5.90m – at the age of just 17.
Not even legends of the event such as Sergey Bubka and Renaud Lavillenie achieved such a height so young.
"It was my third time jumping here and I usually jump good," said Duplantis, whose mark was also a senior national record.
But on this occasion it was more than good, it was sensational.
As grey April clouds hovered above the Myers Stadium, Duplantis sparked amazing scenes as he went flying down the runway and cleared the height with a superb combination of twist and fall, sparking delight from the crowd and officials.
He raised his arm in celebration as he jumped up off the mat, with the spectators joining in as the officials leaped to clap and cheer this superb performance.
"I am going to prepare for the London world championships and (hope to) jump high there," added Duplantis whose victory had even extra spice as he beat the defending world champion, Canada’s Shawn Barber, who was second with 5.50m.
But for a moment let us digest this incredible vault, on the third attempt, from Duplantis, who now holds the senior world lead.
The bronze medallist from last year’s IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, pole vaulting is in blood as his American father is Greg Duplantis.
Now Armand’s 5.90m has progressed higher on the all-time world lists than his dad who had had a best of 5.80m.
Sport runs very much in his family as his Swedish mother Helena is a former heptathlete and volleyball player, with Armand setting quite a standard for his future in what has been quite a year for him because in New York in March he broke the all-time under-20 indoor record with 5.82m, which was an overall world record.
On this stunning afternoon in Austin, Duplantis first matched what had been the world under-20 outdoor mark of 5.80m that Russia’s Maksim Tarasov had held since 1989, clearing that height on his second attempt before his amazing 5.90m.
Incredibly, Ukrainian Bubka, the 1988 Olympic champion and outdoor world record, was 21 when he first cleared 5.90m while France’s Lavillenie, the 2012 Olympic champion and indoor world record, was 22.
It was quite a weekend for European success in Austin because on Friday at the relays, Greek javelin thrower Ioannis Kiriazis, 21, broke the national under-23 record with a first round effort of 88.01m.
It is a world lead for a man who was fourth at the last year’s European Athletics Junior Championships in Eskilstuna but could now make his mark in Bydgoszcz this summer at the European Athletics Under-23 Championships.
Magical Martin Watch out for the impact of Spain’s Alvaro Martin this summer after he delivered one of the races of his life to win the Spanish 20km walking title in Merida on Sunday – and beat fellow countryman and world champion Miguel Angel Lopez in the process.
Martin was 16th when Lopez won the crown in 2015 but this was his moment as he triumphed in 1:21:11 from Alberto Amezcua (1:21:18) with the Beijing gold medallist in third in 1:22:19.
Lidia Sanchez-Puebla won the women’s title in 1:30:57 from Laura Garcia-Caro (1:31:33) and Maria Perez (1:31:46).
Not stopping Mechaal It has been quite a month for Spain’s Adel Mechaal.
At the start of March, he had enough power and speed to win 3000m gold at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade and now he is celebrating a victory on the roads.
On Saturday in Bilbao, Mechaal won the men’s race at the city’s 12th Road mile in 4:28.2 from Cuba’s Maury Castilo 4:31.3 and Spain’s David Palacio 4:32.4.
There was success for Spain in the women’s event, too, at this European Athletics Road Area Permit race as Solange Pereira triumphed in 4:56.2 ahead of Poland's Katarzyna Broniatowska (4:58.3) and Romanian Ancuta Bobocel (4:59.4).
As part of the 44th Debno Marathon, Dominika Stelmach won the Polish title with a personal best of 2:41:13 as she finished behind Kenyan Hellen Waithira in 2:40:05, while at the 12th CSOB Bratislava Marathon, there was a Slovakian winner for the first time as Jozef Urban took the men’s race in 2:29:44.
There are 26 meetings across Europe this week, for more information go to www.european-athletics.org/calendar.