Mondo Duplantis and Yulimar Rojas have both taken their events to new levels and they made further history at the Wanda Diamond League Final in Zurich on Thursday.
The respective pole vault and triple jump superstars were among the recently crowned world champions to triumph at the Wanda Diamond League Final, Duplantis setting a meeting record to win his second Diamond Trophy and Rojas leading a field of unprecedented depth to join him in becoming a back-to-back Diamond League title winner. Cuba’s Andy Diaz Hernandez also topped a historic men’s triple jump final, while USA’s Kara Winger brought her career to a close with one final emotional javelin victory.
At the end of a year in which he has improved the world pole vault record three times, won world titles both indoors and outdoors and taken his career total of six metre-plus clearances to a remarkable 54, Duplantis described his win in Zurich’s Letzigrund Stadium as “the perfect cherry on top”.
It took three vaults for him to win the title and another two to improve the meeting record, the Swedish 22-year-old eventually clearing 6.07m to add a centimetre to the mark he set last year. Entering the competition at 5.62m, Duplantis managed that height on his first go. He then passed at 5.72m, cleared 5.81m at the first time of asking and passed 5.86m. When he soared over 5.91m on his first try and Norway’s Sondre Guttormsen, USA’s Chris Nilsen and France’s Renaud Lavillenie were all unable to make it over, Duplantis was confirmed champion and had the bar moved to a meeting record height. After coming close on his first attempt, he flew over the bar on his second before calling it a night.
“If I came into this competition and I didn’t perform well, the whole season – which was so amazing – wouldn’t feel as good as it should feel,” said Duplantis, who bounced back after his recent loss in Brussels. “In any competition, on any given day, I think I should be able to jump six metres. Same goals next year. We are going to try and crank it up another notch.”
In Zurich, Guttormsen took his own performance up a notch, improving his PB to 5.86m to equal the Norwegian record. He fought for it, with a total of 12 vaults, and it paid off. The NCAA champion then had three attempts at 5.91m but that was a height too far, but his 5.86m got him the runner-up place ahead of Olympic and world silver medallist Nilsen, who cleared 5.81m but then passed at 5.86m, as did 2012 Olympic champion Lavillenie, who finished fourth on countback.