Duplantis retains world indoor pole vault title, no world record

Sweden’s Armand Duplantis competes in the Men’s Pole Vault final during the Indoor World Athletics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, on March 3, 2024. AFP

Sweden’s Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis battled through an early blip to “pull it out of the bag” and successfully defend his world indoor pole vault title in Glasgow on Sunday.

Duplantis won with a best clearance of 6.05 metres, going close in three efforts at 6.24m in a bid to better his own world record.

American Sam Kendricks took silver with a best of 5.90m and Greece’s Emmanouil Karalis bronze (5.85).

“This was the hardest I have ever worked. It seems to be that way when I am against Sam,” said Duplantis.

“He’s such a tough competitor he brings out the best in me.”

Duplantis came in at 5.65m, sailing over although the landing left the Swede grimacing on the mat, a facial expression that stuck with him through his early efforts as he struggled to find his rhythm.

“It’s not his first rodeo, is it?” said stadium announcer Geoff Wightman over the tannoy with some understatement.

Duplantis then skipped 5.75m with Turkey’s Ersu Sasma and Poland’s Piotr Lisek already having bowed out of competition.

France’s Thibaut Collet, Belgian Ben Broeders and Dutchman Menno Vloon were next to stall as the field thinned.

That left Duplantis in the running with five others: Kendricks and US teammate Chris Nilsen, Australian Kurtis Marschall, Filipino Ernest John Obiena and Karalis.

Kendricks went clear on 5.85. Duplantis twice brought the bar down, raising fears of an early demise before sailing over.

Back against the wall

“I had my back against the wall quite a few times today and I’m glad I was able to pull it out on the third attempts,” Duplantis said.

“I was never negative about the fouls. It is always pressure on the last attempt because you are on the line but I always look at it positively. If I have one attempt left then I have a chance.

“I try not to overthink it and learn from the mistake I made on the first two and put it all together. I was able to pull it out of the bag today.”

Kendricks was faultless as he went over 5.90m, Duplantis passing at the height, as Obiena, Nilsen, Marschall and then Karalis all headed for an early shower.

Duplantis went over 5.95m at the second time of asking, having seemingly woken up.

Kendricks, with two failures, passed his third attempt and the bar was raised to the mythical 6m barrier.

It proved too much for the American and Duplantis automatically went to 6.05m, going clear on the third attempt to rapturous applause.

“After I jumped 5.90 and the bar was going to 95, I was like: Mondo, will you play the game with me today? Or you just past it to the 6.10 or the world record – somewhere where I cannot go right now,” said Kendricks.

“And it is our responsibility as competitors to challenge him every day.”

The bar was then raised to 6.24m, a centimetre higher than Duplantis’ previous best mark.

But despite going close on his three efforts, Duplantis failed to repeat his world record-setting feat in the same arena back in February 2020 — although the record then was 6.18m.

“I gave my mom too many scares tonight than she would have liked,” Duplantis admitted.

“I think she got quite nervous watching me there. I knew I had it under control. I’ll have to say sorry about that. I’m glad I could pull out the win for her. She is my inspiration. Thanks mum.”

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