Duplantis improves world U20 record to 5.92m in Austin

Armand Duplantis
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A record seven vaulters cleared 5.88m or higher at the All-Star Perche in Clermont-Ferrand in Sunday including Sweden's Armand Duplantis who smashed the world indoor U20 record

A year ago today, Sweden’s Armand Duplantis sailed through the air to break the world U20 pole vault record when he cleared 5.90m at the 90th Texas Relays in Austin.

Stop the clock and fast forward 12 months, albeit by 24 hours, and the Swedish star is making headlines again.

In the same place and on the corresponding Saturday, the 18-year-old increased his record by two centimetres in front of an ecstatic crowd in a brilliant pole vault competition.

A senior at Lafayette High School in Louisiana, Duplantis built on his superb winter to show he will surely be a major contender for medals in August when Berlin co-hosts the first multi-sports European Championships with Glasgow.

Using a longer 5.20m pole for the very first time in competition, Duplantis finished third with victory jointly going to the man who will be going for his fourth European outdoor title Renaud Lavillenie from France and Canada's former world champion Shawn Barber. 

It has been quite a year of records for Duplantis who broke the world U20 indoor record with 5.88m in Clermont-Ferrand in February.

It was the best competition outdoors in the world this season, with all three men going to the top of the 2018 world lists. The punch of celebration from Duplantis said it all as he went clear much to the delight of the packed crowd in Austin.

“After my first attempt, I knew I could make it for sure. Just had to get some of the numbers right, and luckily it worked out on the last attempt. There’s really no way to describe the personal best; it’s a great feeling,” Duplantis told My Statesman after the competition. 

Today also marks 100 days until the World U20 Championships in Tampere this summer and it will take something special to beat Duplantis - who is also the reigning European U20 champion - there, and what preparation that could be for Berlin.

He had first-time clearances at 5.47m and 5.72m to set himself up for his record-breaking exploits while Lavillenie looked smooth as he went over 5.82m and 5.92m without trouble. Duplantis knocked the bar over at his first two attempts at 5.92m before going clear.

That can be for another day but Lavillenie has set himself a good foundation in his own countdown to Berlin. Having already retained his world indoor title, he will be looking to reclaim European gold after failing to record a height – he entered the competition at 5.75m and missed on all three – in Amsterdam two years ago.

All three vaulters then attempted 6.02m and Lavillenie was came very close to recording his first 6.00m-plus vault since 2016. “My first attempt came really close. It was a little frustrating to miss, but it’s really good to miss that kind of height, especially with the competition," he said.