Duplantis secures world pole vault championship for another year

Armand Duplantis of Sweden successfully defended his world men’s pole vault title in Budapest on Saturday, coming close to surpassing his own world record on three separate occasions.

Duplantis achieved his best vault at 6.10 meters, securing another gold medal. Ernest John Obieno from the Philippines won the silver with a vault of 6.00 meters, while Australian athlete Kurtis Marschall and American competitor Chris Nilsen both claimed the bronze by clearing 5.95 meters.

Impressively, this marked the sixth consecutive championship victory for the 23-year-old Swedish athlete who was born in the US. His winning streak included being the European, world outdoor, and world indoor champion in 2022, as well as the Olympic and European indoor winner in 2021.

Reflecting on his accomplishments, Duplantis stated, “I’m truly pleased about these successive gold medals. I’m uncertain of the exact ranking of this one, but I’m thrilled to continue my winning streak.”

He also shared his thoughts on the intense atmosphere of the competition, saying, “The ambiance during this event was perhaps the most intense I’ve ever experienced. It meant a lot to me to be able to put on a pole vault performance for the audience.”

Acknowledging the pressure of defending his title, Duplantis expressed his satisfaction with overcoming the challenge, stating, “I felt a certain amount of pressure as the reigning champion, but I’m relieved to have come through. It feels quite satisfying to be back on top.”

Duplantis commenced the event by smoothly clearing the initial height of 5.55 meters. He chose to skip the 5.75-meter mark and proceeded to clear 5.85 meters with ease.

Out of the 12 competitors, only four managed to clear the 5.85-meter height: France’s Thibaut Collet (achieving a personal best), Marschall, Obiena, and Nilsen, who succeeded on his third attempt.

As the competition progressed, Obiena, Collet, and Nilsen successfully cleared 5.90 meters, while Duplantis decided not to compete at that height.

Marschall initially failed at 5.90 meters but then promptly cleared his personal best of 5.95 meters. Following the same strategy, Collet also succeeded as the bar was raised to the challenging 6.00-meter mark.

Duplantis effortlessly cleared this height, as did Obiena on his second try, setting an Asian record. However, the remaining vaulters, including Collet, Marschall, and Nilsen, encountered difficulties at this height and were unable to proceed.

The bar was then elevated to 6.05 meters, posing no obstacle for Duplantis, who effortlessly cleared it. Obiena, however, faltered in his first attempt and chose to raise the bar to 6.10 meters.

With determination, Duplantis made no mistakes and displayed genuine emotion upon landing, realizing that the gold medal was within his reach. This victory became a certainty after Obiena’s unsuccessful attempt at the same height.

The question lingered whether Duplantis would strive to surpass his own world record of 6.22 meters, which he had set indoors in France in February. While he came close in his three attempts, he ultimately secured his second world gold medal.

Reflecting on his mindset, Duplantis shared, “I avoid imposing limits on myself, and once I started to believe that a world record was attainable, I viewed it not as a record, but simply as another height I could conquer.” He summarized the day’s competition, emphasizing its enjoyable and competitive nature, despite not breaking the world record.

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