EUGENE, OREGON (AFP, REUTERS) – Armand Duplantis wrapped up the World Athletics Championships in Eugene in stunning fashion on Sunday (July 24), setting a new world record in the pole vault as the curtain came down on the 10-day global track and field extravaganza.
The gripping finale could not have been any better scripted for the first athletics world championships ever to be held on American soil – apart from the fact maybe that the US-born and raised Duplantis was wearing the yellow and blue of Sweden and not representing the Stars and Stripes.
As the furious hullaboo of the frenzied 4x400m relays won by the US men and women died down, all eyes turned on Duplantis.
And the 22-year-old Swede did not disappoint, sailing with ease over 6.21 metres at the second time of asking.
The packed, raucous crowd at Hayward Field went wild as he sprinted to see his father and coach Greg and plant a kiss on girlfriend Desire Inglander.
“It is great, I cannot complain!” said Duplantis, whose new mark bettered by 1cm his previous best set when winning gold at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March.
“Actually, I did not think about the record that much today,” he said.
“Usually, it is always somewhere in the back of my mind but today, I was really focused on the win and I really wanted to win the gold so badly. It was the medal I was missing.
“I love jumping in Eugene and it was amazing here. I cannot figure the next heights right now. I am going to have a bit time off with my family and my friends.”
It was the third time this year that Duplantis has set a world record and his fifth record-setting jump overall after breaking Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie’s 6.16m world mark with a clearance of 6.17m in February 2020.
American Chris Nilsen jumped 5.94m to take silver on countback ahead of the Philippines’ Ernest John Obiena, who won his nation’s first World Championships medal.
“This was something I really wanted but I do not know if I was expecting it,” Obiena said. “I definitely did not expect that I would jump that high. And I would not think that it would actually take that high to win a medal.”
Record for Amusan
Unheralded Nigerian Tobi Amusan had earlier stolen the show with two electric runs on her way to gold in the 100m hurdles.
In the very first event of a loaded evening of track, spectators barely had a chance to sit down with their sodas and popcorn before Amusan rocketed to a new world record of 12.12 seconds in the semi-finals.