Mondo Duplantis clears 6.19m in Belgrade (© AFP / Getty Images)
Just days before the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 kicks off in the same venue, Olympic champion Mondo Duplantis broke his own world pole vault record* with a 6.19m clearance at the Belgrade Indoor Meeting – a World Indoor Tour Silver competition – on Monday (7).
The 22-year-old Swedish vaulter had attempted that height on numerous occasions over the past two years, and had come close to clearing it several times this indoor season.
But, returning to the venue where he cleared a world-leading 6.10m last year, Duplantis finally nailed it. He opened his series with a first-time clearance of 5.61m, with all of his opponents having exited earlier in the competition. He then got over 5.85m and 6.00m on his first tries.
He had the bar raised to 6.19m and missed his first two tries. On his third and final try, he gave the bar a slight nudge with his knees but it remained in place, then he leapt up from the landing mat and punched the air in celebration.
"I think I've tried 6.19m 50 times," said Duplantis. "It's been a long time coming. I've never had a height that has given me that much trouble, so it's a very good feeling. It was really hard fought over these past two years. I'm really happy."
Duplantis has now set three world records in the pole vault: 6.17 in Torun in February 2020, followed by 6.18m one week later in Glasgow, and now 6.19m in Belgrade.
He’ll return to the Serbian capital later in the month for the World Indoor Championships from 18-20 March.
Much to the delight of the home crowd, Ivana Vuleta dominated the long jump ahead of the defence of her world indoor title.
As she often does, the three-time European indoor champion produced a consistent series, opening with 6.83m, improving to 6.88m in round four, then following it with further leaps of 6.83m in rounds five and six. Compatriot Milica Gardasevic was second with a PB of 6.69m.
The men’s long jump was much closer and, just as he did at the Olympics last year, Miltiadis Tentoglou emerged the winner thanks to his last-round effort.
The Greek jumper took an early lead after jumping 8.14m and 8.20m in the first two rounds. Sweden’s Thobias Montler then responded with 8.23m in round three to take the lead. Tentoglou continued churning out eight-metre jumps but didn’t improve on his best until the last round when he sailed out to a season’s best of 8.25m. Montler tried to respond, but his 8.22m effort wasn’t quite enough.
Italy’s Nick Ponzio dominated the men’s shot put, winning with 21.61m.
Denmark’s Benjamin Lobo Vedel trimmed 0.01 from his own national indoor record, winning the men’s 400m with 45.94. In second, Bosko Kijanovic broke the long-standing Serbian indoor record that had stood since 1992, clocking an outright PB of 46.22.
Elliot Giles, winner of the 800m in this year’s World Indoor Tour, stepped up in distance and won the men’s 1500m. In a close race, he finished just ahead of Serbia’s Elzan Bibic, 3:37.49 to Bibic’s 3:37.84 national indoor record.
A week after setting an Italian record of 7.16, Zaynab Dosso won the 60m in Belgrade with 7.21, having clocked 7.20 in the heats.
Her compatriot Marcell Jacobs, the Olympic 100m champion, was favourite to win the men’s 60m final after clocking 6.56 in the heats, but he was disqualified for a false start. Jan Volko went on to win the final in 6.69.
*Subject to the usual ratification procedure