Pole vault star Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis, watched by his mother, attempted a world record, and climate protesters added “an 11th hurdle” in the rain-hit Diamond League event in Stockholm on Sunday.
The pole vault was delayed for two hours by the wet weather, as the sound system in Stockholm’s venerable Olympic Stadium, played “Let the Sunshine In” from the musical Hair.
When it started, Duplantis, the reigning Olympic and world champion, was perfect with his first four jumps in an event
His last clearance was at 6.05m, enough to win the competition comfortably by 23cm from Ernest Obiena. It was fourth time in five summer competitions “Mondo” has cleared 6m.
The American-born Duplantis, who competes for Sweden through his mother Helena who was in the Stockholm crowd, then took off his black leg warmers and raised the bar to 6.23m, a centimetre higher than the world record he set indoors in France in February.
He pulled out before jumping on his first two attempts and then brought down the bar on his third and final try.
“This is the most important meet, outside of the World Championships, for me in the year,” said Duplantis.
“I was really fired up and felt I could conquer the world,” he said. “Maybe the conditions and tiredness caught up with me in the end there.”
Seven weeks ahead of the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, Duplantis again dominates the world rankings.
His best mark is 6.12 metres set in Ostrava, in the Czech Republic on June 27. Sunday’s jump was the fourth best in the world this season.
Only American KC Lightoot, with a clearance of 6.07 metres for third best, intrudes in the top five.
Another Scandinavian world-record holder, Karsten Warholm, also won but the field in the men’s 400m hurdle had to contend with an unexpected obstacle.
Runners in the middle lanes had to dodge three climate protestors who had come onto the track and unfurled a banner in front of the finish line.
Warholm, on the outside, had an unimpeded run to the line, but two runners collided with the banner and others had to dodge the protesters.
“There was an 11th hurdle today,” said France’s Wilfried Happio, who was fifth.
“I didn’t quite understand what was happening. Things go too fast in those moments,” Happio said.
“It’s bad enough that you’re not too lucid at the end of the race, so if on top of that there’s a banner you have to dodge...”.
Warholm won 47.57 sec, more than a second slower than the 2023 world best time he set in Oslo in June.
“I got to post another good time, so I am very pleased. I am 100% exactly where I want to be,” said the Norwegian.
Croatian Sandra Perkovic won the women’s discus for a record-extending 46th Diamond League victory.
“After 13 years I am still here winning Diamond Leagues,” she said.
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