Mondo Duplantis and Holly Bradshaw set new 2021 marks in Rouen

Pole vault world record holder beats Renaud Lavillenie setting a world lead for this season

By Ken Browne ·

Mondo Duplantis is at it again.

The Swedish pole vault world record holder was on fire Saturday night at the Rouen 2021 Elite Tour setting a new world leading height at 6.03m for 2021.

Right after he cleared 6.03 Duplantis' gesture said 'calm down, I'm here.'

He then put the bar at 6.19 looking to top his own world record but failed to set a new mark three times.

Sweden's world record holder surprised earlier on when he missed at 5.60m but quickly restored the natural order clearing 5.73 and 5.83m without blinking, passing on 5.93m before sailing over at 6.03m with plenty to spare.

He left the three other who went with him that far,

Renaud Lavillenie came closest to Duplantis, going over at 5.93 but the French vaulter couldn't crack the magic 6m barrier, knocking the bar at 6.03m.

U.S. collegiate star Chris Nilsen had a day to remember finishing in third place ahead of world champion Sam Kendricks.

23-year-old Nilsen jumped a new personal best of 5.93m.

Kendricks struggled to find his rhythm and finished fourth. It took the American three attempts to go over 5.60m before clearing 5.83m.

2018 Athletics World Cup winner Holly Bradshaw was delighted with her second best vault ever, a 4.85m that gave her victory in the women's competition and also set a 2021 leading mark.

"I can't do it every time" - Duplantis

Prompted by the stadium announcer saying 'it isn't easy to break a world record is it,' Duplantis had to smile.

"I can't do it every time, but I'm glad to get over six metres again," he said, promising to return after his jump was just under the record in Rouen.

"I don't have the meet record so that's motivation to come back, why not next year I guess."

Lavillenie holds on to that mark, 6.04m set back in 2014.

Elsewhere 20-year-old Ethan Cormont set a personal best going over 5.73 at his first attempt.

And while he couldn't clear 5.83 in three tries he made it clear that he's the latest prospect to roll off the French pole vault production line.

Find out how it all began for pole vault sensation Mondo Duplantis

18-year-old Mondo Duplantis cleared 6.05m becoming the youngest ever male a...

Duplantis continues unbeaten run

This victory in France follows his successful season-opener in Dusseldorf last week.

Mondo's winning streak continues, he hasn't lost since the 2019 World Championships in Doha, where he won silver behind behind Sam Kendricks.

Having won all 13 events that he competed in during 2020, Duplantis has picked up where he left off in 2021 winning both meets that he's participated in.

In an Olympic year Duplantis continues to set the tone.

He brings all the momentum of a world record holder with him wherever he goes, that 6.17 then 6.18m he set on 15 February 2020 in Glasgow the highest that anyone's ever gone.

He also holds the outdoor record of 6.15m, he set that one in September in Rome surpassing the great Sergej Bubka's 26-year-old mark of 6.14m.

As reigning World Athletics Male Athlete of the Year 2020, 2021 could be even better for Mondo.

Holly Bradhsaw the leading woman

In an empty stadium the athletes did what they could to create some atmosphere and get the adrenaline flowing.

Some got the stadium staff and fellow athletes to clap along, others used the music to get themselves pumped up, Canada's Alysha Newman particularly getting into it.

But it was Holly Bradshaw who found the motivation clearing 4.85m. Four women cleared 4.62 but Belarus' Iryna Zhuk finished second on the countback and Alysha Newman shared third place with Eleni-Klaoudia Polak of Greece.

Bradshaw who was born in Euxton, Lancashire, reached two Olympic finals at London 2012 and Rio 2016 is aiming for a medal at the rescheduled Tokyo Games after staying fit and focussed during lockdown.

Frustratingly she lives right next to the High Performance Centre in Loughborough but as that was shut had to come up with creative ways to train - one of them was to simulate the weight of a pole vaulting pole by taping a can of baked beans to a stick.

"I've been able to do some incredible stuff during this time," she told Eurosport. "I've managed to muddle through and also come out of the other side in good nick.

"I've had lots of injuries and needed resilience to come back better from them. That gives me confidence that this time doesn't have to be wasted."

The 29-year-old finished fourth at Doha 2019 and is aiming for one better in Japan, she was clearly elated by her 4.85m mark, clearing it on her third attempt.

It's her second-highest career clearance after the 4.87 she recorded back in 2012.

All promising signs for the year ahead.