in Stockholm, the rain does not calm the ardor of Duplantis

The Olympic and world pole vault champion won this Sunday at the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, failing however to beat his own world record.

After an impeccable competition despite the wet weather conditions, Armand Duplantis tried for the first time, in vain, to bring his pole vault world record to 6.23 m at the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm. Sunday.

For the fourth time in five summer competitions in 2023, “World“Nevertheless imposed himself by exceeding six meters, a height that he trivializes, in this case with 6.05 m. “I was really fired up and felt like I could take on the world,” he says. But maybe the conditions and the fatigue finally caught up with me.»

In addition to the humidity and ambient coolness, which largely limited the performances of the evening, Karsten Warholm had to face one more difficulty: the additional obstacle constituted by a trio of environmental activists who unfurled a banner a few meters from the finish line of the 400m hurdles. If his lane 8, all outside, was visibly spared, two runners hit the banner and others avoided as best they could the demonstrators, whose organization had painted a painting by Claude Monet exhibited in the Swedish capital mid-June.

There was an eleventh hurdle today.

Wilfried Happio

«There was an eleventh hurdle today (Sunday)…“, reacted the French Wilfried Happio, fifth, in 49 sec 67, of the race dominated as expected by Warholm, reigning Olympic champion and world record holder. The powerful Norwegian won in 47 sec 57, about a second from his canon time signed in Oslo in mid-June. “I didn’t quite understand, it goes too fast in these momentstestified Happio. Already we are not too lucid at the end of the race, so if in addition there is a banner that we must dodge…»

Casually, the sound system of the venerable Olympic stadium in Stockholm with bricks more than a hundred years old did well to implore the heavens in its own way, by launching “Let the sunshine in“. For a long time, waterspouts continued to pour. So much so that the pole vault competition was delayed two hours to take advantage of the respite that had finally come.

When it was finally time to unpack their long bags for the pole vaulters, who however did not escape the chilly conditions, Duplantis, who had remained for a long time all wrapped up in his khaki parka, showed surgical precision. 5.62 m, 5.82 m, 5.95 m and 6.05 m: “Mondo” cleared everything on the first try, and, under the eyes of his mother Helena, to whom he owes Swedish nationality, decided to tackle 6.23 m, one centimeter more than his world record.

Postponed

At this height, the reigning Olympic and world champion left his black tights, but did not commit his first two attempts. On the third and final, he got high in the air, but knocked the bar down. “I found rhythm on the track despite the cold. Mentally, I felt that I was present, inside, that I had a chance. That’s why I tried, and also for the people who stayed so long to see me“, he explained.

It is probably only a postponement for the Swedish phenomenon: at 23, he has already improved the world record six times since 2020 (from 6.17 m to 6.22 m), most recently in February in Clermont -Ferrand (France). Seven weeks before the 2023 Worlds in Budapest (August 19-27), Duplantis has the best world performance of the summer season with 6.12 m, passed Tuesday in Ostrava (Czech Republic). He is now expected in the Diamond League in Poland in two weeks.

Zero points on the other hand for Renaud Lavillenie, after three failures from 5.42 m. In the 3,000m steeplechase, Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali, reigning Olympic and world champion, had to repack his world record dreams. He nevertheless won in 8 min 09 sec 84.

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