Athletics

Duplantis opens Olympic season with win at ISTAF Indoor in Dusseldorf

Pole vault world record holder Mondo Duplantis and GB's Dina Asher-Smith continued their winning ways in Dusseldorf

By Sven Busch ·

Mondo Duplantis opened his Olympic season in style winning the ISTAF Indoor meet in Dusseldorf on Sunday afternoon (31 January).

Pole vault's leading man cleared a season's best of 6.01m to finish ahead of Germany's Torben Blech (5.86m). Two-time world champion Sam Kendricks (USA) came in third

Dina Asher-Smith took the 60m in 7.12s only 40 hours after winning the first World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting of 2021 in Karlsruhe on Friday evening.

Duplantis had to endure a bit of drama ahead of his 2021 debut. Before leaving for Germany he accidentally lost his passport. An Uppsala resident found it and handed it back to the Duplantis family.

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Duplantis continues winning streak

The Swedish high flyer has not lost since the 2019 World Championships in Doha, where he finished in second place behind Kendricks.

The world record holder cleared 5,52m and 5,72m in his first attempt in Dusseldorf before needing two tries to leap over 5.86m. After soaring over 5.91m on his first go he had the bar raised to 6.01m which was no problem.

Duplantis then tried his luck at a new world record (6.19m) but ended his competition after one unsuccessful attempt.

The Scandinavian won all of the 13 events in which he competed during 2020 reinforcing his status as one of the superstars heading to Tokyo 2020.

Duplantis broke the world record for the second time in a week at the Glasgow Grand Prix when he soared to an incredible 6.18m on 15 February 2020. Just a week before the mark with his 6.17m in Torun.

In September he added the outdoor world record of 6.15m at the Diamond League event in Rome bettering Sergej Bubka's 26-year-old mark of 6.14m.

No wonder he was crowned Male Athlete of the Year at the virtual World Athletics Awards in December.

Asher-Smith showed no fatigue from competing on Friday evening. In only her second indoor appearance for three years, the reigning world 200m champion did not have the best start but managed to hold off Switzerlands Ajla Del Ponte (7.16s) for her second win of this season.

The Briton is one of the hot medal favourites at Tokyo 2020 having won 100m silver, behind Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, and 200m gold at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.