BRUSSELS – Armand Duplantis and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce suffered shock defeats at the Diamond League meet in Brussels on Friday.
World, Olympic and European pole vault champion Duplantis, also the world record holder, failed three times at 5.91 metres.
That failure handed victory to Ernest Obiena of the Philippines. It was Duplantis’ first defeat in a dominant season in which he won two world titles, indoor and out, setting two new world records (6.20 and 6.21m) in the process.
His last loss came in Lausanne last August, the US-born Swede having since enjoyed a string of 21 victories.
Duplantis opened with a blip at 5.61m, going clear at the second time of asking with three of the 10-strong field already out of the running.
He skipped 5.71 but became the first vaulter to clear 5.81m. Only one other, Filipino Obiano, was to follow, the rest of the field heading for an early shower.
Obiano cleared 5.91m on the third time of asking, Duplantis having clipped the bar on this three efforts, a band of African drummers adding a raucous atmosphere at the King Baudouin Stadium with balmy temperatures of 27 deg C.
“I did a lot of things poorly technically,” admitted Duplantis. “It’s rare for me to jump the way I did.
“Maybe I needed a bit of a wake-up call. I’ve got to come back next year and do something more special for the people that came out.”
There was a similar upset in the women’s 100m, Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson trumping five-time world champion Fraser-Pryce.
Jackson, crowned 200m world champion in Oregon in July – also ahead of Fraser-Pryce, clocked 10.73sec in a photo-finish with her teammate, at one-hundredth of a second.
“I feel okay about today’s race,” said Fraser-Pryce, who was forced to skip the Lausanne meet last week with a hamstring contraction.
“It wasn’t anything spectacular but I felt good. I do not have any injury so that is the most important part. I am not sure about (next week’s finals in) Zurich, I will have to wait and listen to my body.”