Almost a year after he finished second to Sam Kendricks in the Doha 2019 World Athletics Championships, Swedish star Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis got back at the American world champion with a pole vault win at the Doha Diamond League at Qatar Sports Club today.
Duplantis has been unbeaten this year, setting the world record 6.18m indoors at Glasgow and then beating Sergey Bubka’s outdoor mark of 6.14m with a 6.15m in Rome last week.
Yesterday, Duplantis, Kendricks and former world record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France all tied the 2013 meet record of 5.82m by Konstantinos Filippidis of Greece, but the 20-year-old Swede, not troubling the bar at all, unlike the other two, won on countback.
All three had attempted 5.92, but the bar won.
Duplantis used his third attempt at the height to go for his 11th 6m+ mark of the season, but the bar won the battle this time too.
“It’s been a fantastic season and I enjoyed sharing the moment tonight with the guys,” Duplantis said after the win. “We've not been able to see each other this season as we often do due to obvious reasons. I enjoyed the jump and the rivalry with Sam. It's been fun with him as we have always got back at each other.”
Reflecting on what has been a sparkling season for him, the US-based Swede said, “It's been a rollercoaster year sort of. I broke the indoor world record earlier in the year and I was enjoying the season but all of a sudden the pandemic came and everything shut down and no one knew what will happen next. It's great to be back and I hope things keep improving.”
Duplantis dedicated his win last night to his sister, who is “celebrating her 18th birthday”. “Though I'm not there with her, I believe I've given her a wonderful gift,” he added.
The victory was Duplantis’ first in Doha, but the Qatari capital seems to have made quite an impression on him. “I've always loved coming to Doha because to me I believe heat is better than cold and I enjoyed competing here. I look forward to coming back.”
Coming into yesterday’s battle, Kendricks was well aware of the enormity of the task. “The very fact is a new expectation has been set. If you want to play this game against Mondo, you have got to come ready to play harder than anybody in history,” 28-year-old Kendricks had said on Thursday.
“And it’s sometimes scary to accept that I might have to be better than all of my forebearers just to get some play in this game.”
Yesterday, Kendricks, who finished second, may have fallen short of the task, but pole vault as a competition is only going to get more exciting.