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Armand Duplantis vaults his way into history

Armand Duplantis vaults his way into history

18-year-old Swede wins European title after breaking championship and world U20 records in Berlin

Another astonishing night at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin saw another prodigiously talented teenager win a European title as Armand Duplantis stunned the watching crowd with a record-breaking pole vault performance that will live long in the memory.

Following on from the double gold medal-winning exploits of 17-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen earlier this week, the 18-year-old Swede chose the perfect time to remind the sport that there is another superstar leaping into the spotlight.

A championship record height of 6.05m, which beat his personal best and world under-20 record by 12 centimetres, sent Duplantis into wild celebrations. The man he had deposed as European champion, three-time champion and training partner Renaud Lavillenie, joined him in the moment by sportingly giving his successor a huge hug.

When Duplantis cleared 5.95m, overhauling his previous best mark of 5.93m, at the first time of asking it was clear that something special was in the air.

He only needed one attempt to clear the magical six-metre barrier – the previous championship record which had stood for 24 years – before then going five centimetres higher. The history-making vault was also a first-time clearance.

“I do not think that there are any words in this world to describe what I feel,” said the US-based teenager who is coached by his father, a former pole vaulter, and whose mother is a former heptathlete.

“I am on the top of the world, I am so happy. It could not be any better. In the competition, after I jumped six metres, I just knew I needed to go higher. It was crazy and pretty tough for me as I just improved my PB. I had to switch the poles at the higher heights for the ones I have never used before in the competition. This medal will definitely be dedicated to my coach, my mother who spent with me every day, every training session and she saw all my workouts.”

Authorised neutral athlete Timur Morgunov also cleared 6.00m but could not go any higher and had to settle for silver, while Lavillenie won bronze with a best of 5.95m.

He was far from downcast in defeat, however.

“Before coming here I said that the competition was going to be an intense battle – and it was,” said the 31-year-old former Olympic champion. “We have to enjoy it. This was one of the most epic competitions ever. I know why I love to be at championships. Today it was like in poker ‘all in’.

“Another medal, I guess it is my 18th medal. I will be back.”

Britain’s Adam Hague improved his outdoor PB to 5.65m – matching his best performance indoors – for 10th.

Elsewhere in the field, 2006 European silver medallist Nathan Douglas produced a season’s best 16.71m (+0.2) in his opening triple jump, a distance which had put him in silver medal position. The Briton ultimately had to settle for sixth place, however, as the title went to Portuguese former Olympic champion Nelson Evora.

He reached a season’s best 17.10m (-0.1) in the fifth round to finish ahead of Azerbaijan’s Alex Copello, who jumped 16.93m (+0.1) and Dimítrios Tsiámis of Greece with a season’s best 16.78m (-0.1).

A men’s 4x100m report can be found here.

» Results can be found here. See the August 16 issue of AW magazine for full coverage from Berlin

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