Duplantis scales new heights, track stars produce thrilling times

Armand Duplantis of Sweden sets the new outdoor world record in the pole vault during the IAAF Diamond League 40th golden gala 'Pietro Mennea' (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
Armand Duplantis of Sweden sets the new outdoor world record in the pole vault during the IAAF Diamond League 40th golden gala 'Pietro Mennea' (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

It was a Diamond League meet full of world and national records as well as season bests

After setting the indoor world records (6.17m and 6.18m) in February this year, pole vaulter Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis has gone higher than anyone outdoors has before.

At the Rome Diamond League, the Swede broke a 26-year-old outdoor world record with a 6.15m jump. And he's only 20.

Before Thursday (17 September), no one had ever jumped higher than Sergey Bubka's 6.14m set on 31 July, 1994.

“I think I’m still up in the clouds right now. It’s just one of those feelings where you are kind of dreaming a little bit… It’s surreal, it’s surreal,” Duplantis said after the meet.

Ahead of the meet, Duplantis said: "The expectations are very high. I feel the pressure."

However, it's become a trademark of the young athlete to secure his victory in the early stages of competition - after a second-attempt clearance of 5.85m he was the only one left.

The bar continued to rise until it reached 6.15m. However, on his first attempt, Duplantis just grazed the bar with his chest on the way down.

Ahead of his second attempt he asked good friend and former world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie for advice.

“I asked Renaud if I should move in a little bit because I hit it on the way down... but he thought I just didn’t take off as well as I could so he said just to hit it with a little more force at the start of the jump," Duplantis explained.

And after 14 attempts overall, Duplantis had finally done it.

“I hit the mat but I haven’t really fallen back to earth,” he told press.

Despite already holding the world record in the men's pole vault at 6.18m - the IAAF doesn't recognise indoor and outdoor pole vault as separate events - he still wanted to prove he was the best.

“The 6.15m was really important to me, so I’m happy to get over that.”

“There was kind of this confusion between the indoor and outdoor record – it’s kind of merged. I already had the world record but I wanted to clear everything up and be the best outdoor.”

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Outdoor WR!!! LFG!!! #borntofly

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Track stars light up Rome

It was a thrilling men's 3,000m race that saw the first three runners all set national records.

Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda crossed the line in the fastest time (7:26.64) in the world since 2007, meanwhile second-placed Jakob Ingebrigtsen set a Norwegian record (7:27.05) and Strewart McSweyn held on for an Australian and Oceania record (7:28.02) in third.

Meanwhile, in the 400m hurdles, world champion Karsten Warholm continued his spectacular form with the third fastest time of his career. It is now his fourth entry this month into all-time top 13 times - overall he holds six of them.

Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah, the dual Olympic 100m/200m champion, made her return to international competition setting the fastest time of the year (10.85).