Athletics

Mondo Duplantis wins epic Lausanne city pole vault

World record holder clears new outdoor best of 6.07m to get the better of Sam Kendricks in Diamond League event held in the centre of the Olympic city.

By Rory Jiwani ·

Mondo Duplantis triumphed in a spectacular Diamond League pole vault competition in the centre of Lausanne on Wednesday (2 September).

Sweden's world record holder came out on top in a thrilling duel with world champion Sam Kendricks.

Both men cleared the magic six-metre barrier before Duplantis took victory with a new outdoor personal best of 6.07m.

He then failed with one attempt at an outdoor world record of 6.15m before deciding to stop as darkness fell over the Olympic city.

Meanwhile, Sweden's 2018 European bronze medallist Angelica Bengtsson won an exciting women's contest by clearing 4.72m with her third and final attempt.

"You can't get better than that competition right when we go back and forth and back and forth. The height didn't really matter. It was just such a great competition." - Mondo Duplantis speaking after winning the Lausanne Diamond League pole vault

Mondo Duplantis celebrates his winning clearance of 6.07m, a new outdoor personal best, in Lausanne

Duplantis on top in classic duel

The action was fast and furious in Lausanne with the men's and women's contests taking place on adjacent runways.

And the athletes thrived on the atmosphere of a normal crowd for the first time in this strange outdoor season.

Duplantis set the tone with his first attempt of the competition, clearing 5.62m with almost ridiculous ease after Kendricks had surprisingly failed at the height.

The American made amends with his second attempt, but that cross against his name left him in poor shape as far as countback in the final analysis was concerned.

American college star Chris Nilsen had a season's best of 5.62m but bowed out after just knocking off the bar at 5.72m.

Then came London 2012 gold medallist Renaud Lavillenie who showed the competitive juices were still flowing with a third-time clearance at 5.72m.

Renaud Lavillenie clears 5.72m on his third and final attempt on his way to fourth place in Lausanne

Reigning Olympic champion Thiago Braz had looked in good form with a perfect card until three failures at 5.82m which left him in third place.

That height accounted for Lavillenie as well leaving Duplantis and Kendricks to fight it out.

Sam Kendricks makes a clearance with the women's runway in the background during the Lausanne Diamond League pole vault

The two-time reigning world champion had a season's best of 5.82m going into tonight but raised that to 5.87m and 5.92m with the Swede continue to cruise through the competition.

The bar went up to 5.97m and Kendricks touched it but it stayed in place for yet another season's best.

The same happened at 6.02m, the first time two men have cleared that height in the same competition.

It was turning into one of the great pole vault battles despite fading light and the athletes having shorter breaks between attempts than usual.

Kendricks failed with his first attempt at what would have been a new American record of 6.07m.

But Duplantis went over once more for his best ever vault outdoors, touching the bar for the first time of the evening.

Two more failures from Kendricks left Duplantis as the victor and he even tried a new outdoor world record of 6.15m, one centimetre higher than Sergey Bubka's mark from 1994, before deciding the darkness was too much.

Afterwards, the 20-year-old spoke of his delight at being involved in such a thrilling contest with his friend and rival.

"We've had this a couple of times before but never at this high a level. When Sam's on fire... it just made me kind of get that momentum. It made me want to live up to what he was doing. We were out there having such a great time. It's been a couple of meets since we had a great battle like that.

"I go to every meet now and everybody just wants me to break the world record. A PB's a PB and that's always great for any athlete."

When asked if he felt his own world record of 6.18m was within reach, Duplantis simply replied, "I feel good and I feel like high bars are on the way."

Mondo Duplantis clears 6.07m to win the Diamond League pole vault in Lausanne

Angelica Bengtsson showed her class and determination with a last-ditch clearance to win the women's event.

Stockholm Diamond League Holly Bradshaw was the last to enter the women's event and started off with an easy first-time clearance at 4.54m.

Swedish record holder Michaela Meijer was in trouble at 4.54m, but took her time to compose herself before going clear with her final attempt.

Nanjing 2014 YOG champion Angelica Moser was certainly inspired by the home crowd, clearing 4.64m at the first attempt for a new personal best.

Meijer and compatriot Bengtsson both had second-time successes at 4.64m to make it a four-way battle for the podium places.

All of them had two failures at 4.72m before Bengtsson just went over with her third and final attempt for a new season's best and a well-earned victory.

Angelica Bengtsson celebrates her victory in the Lausanne Diamond League pole vault