Duplantis ups the pole vault record
© Gladys Chai von der Laage
One week after breaking the pole vault world record in Torun, Armand Duplantis improved the mark to 6.18m* at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow, part of the World Athletics Indoor Tour, on Saturday (15).
The Swedish vaulter was in imperious form. He opened at 5.50m and got over 5.75m on his second try. Two-time world champion Sam Kendricks led at that point, but it was short lived as the US athlete exited the competition at the next height, 5.84m.
Duplantis, though, sailed over on his first attempt. With no one else left in the competition, the 20-year-old then flew over 6.00m, a UK indoor all-comers’ record. His clearance over the bar suggested he was capable of going much higher.
He had the bar moved up to 6.18m. A minor technical glitch with the starting equipment for the women's 400m allowed a window of opportunity for Duplantis to take his first attempt at the world record height. And one attempt is all he needed as he sailed well clear of the bar, setting his second world record in as many weeks.
"This was such a great competition," said Duplantis as he was handed his world record bonus cheque for $30,000. "There was such great energy the crowd was giving me and I really thrive off that."
The only downside to breaking a world record so early in the season with such seeming ease is that it brings with it a certain level of expectation for all that follows.
But if Armand Duplantis felt any pressure following his 6.17m world record in Torun last week, he certainly didn’t let it show in Glasgow at the fifth stop on the World Athletics Indoor Tour on Saturday (15).
If anything, his form looked better than ever. Aside from needing two tries at 5.75m, he cleared every other height on his first attempt. With the competition won at 5.84m, he popped over 6.00m with room to spare and then upped the bar to 6.18m.
Even that, incredibly, looked an extremely comfortable clearance.
So now, with two world records under his belt and clearly capable of going higher, many fans are expecting the 20-year-old Swedish athlete to follow in the footsteps of legendary vaulter Sergey Bubka by increasing the world record by one centimetre at a time.
It was something Duplantis was asked about on the eve of the competition, and then again following his record-breaking achievement in Glasgow.
“It’s unfair to think I'll break it every time I compete,” he said. “I don't think about it too much. You don’t need to break a record to win every comp.
“I want to win and that’s always the goal, but firstly you've got to win, and if I have the energy left, then I'll crank it up a bit.
“I don’t want to put a limit on myself,” he added. “I feel good and I don't see why I would peak at 20 years old.”
Duplantis has two more competitions left this indoor season: the World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting in Lievin on 19 February and the ‘All Star Perche’ meeting in Clermont Ferrand on 23 February.
But despite his exploits so far this year, the big goal, he says, is the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“Olympic gold is the pinnacle in athletics,” he said. “It’s a big goal of mine for sure.”
*Subject to the usual ratification procedure