Duplantis clears a world-leading 5.94m in Baton Rouge

Armand Duplantis
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Sweden's European champion Armand Duplantis cleared a world-leading 5.94m in Baton Rouge on Saturday

Sweden's Armand Duplantis is back delivering spectacularly again – eight months on from one of the most extraordinary nights European athletics has known. 

Now 19, Duplantis set the tone in his event ahead of the summer with a world leading mark of 5.94m at the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

With this superb display, the European champion from Berlin showed the mood he is already in as he plots a course to glory at the IAAF World Championships in Doha in September. 

Duplantis, who cleared 6.05m to win the European title in Berlin last August, had the bar raised to 6.01m and although he missed out on his three attempts, the Swede has showed what could lie ahead for the rest of the season. 

Duplantis put together a good series of vaults, clearing 5.83m at the second attempt after first-time clearances at 5.51m and 5.67m to ease his way in. The 5.94m came with his first go. It was the second best vault in US collegiate history and a record for his institution Louisiana State University.

Lawrence Johnson holds the collegiate record with 5.98m from 1996 but in this sort of form, Duplantis will surely be challenging for that soon - especially based on his close his attempts at 6.01m were. 

Speaking to the local media after the competition, Duplantis said: “It felt good to redeem myself today with some quality jumps. I took some good attempts at the collegiate record as well."

Dolezal breaks the 8000-point barrier in Lana; O'Connor improves Irish heptathlon record

At the Multistars Trofeo Zerneri Acciai in Lana in Italy, former European U20 champion Jan Dolezal from Czech Republic put together an excellent second day - including lifetime bests in the javelin (62.50m) and 1500m (4:38.72) - to break the 8000-point barrier, winning with 8117 points.

In doing so, Dolezal won by nearly 200 points from Estonia's overnight leader Kristian Rosenberg with 7950 points and Germany's Matthias Brugger with 7927 points. Norway's defending champion Martin Roe had to settle for fourth with 7915 points.

“I did not expect to set a PB,” Dolezal told the IAAF. “I am really surprised. I am now looking forward to Gotzis, where I am aiming to score the qualifying standard of 8200 for the World Championships in Doha.”

As US athlete Annie Kunz won the heptathlon with 5971 points, Kate O’Connor, 18, broke the Irish record by 80 points as she scored 5881 to eclipse Elizabeth Morland’s mark from the 2017 European Athletics U20 Championships in Grosseto. 

O’Connor also set an Irish U20 record in the javelin of 49.31m and now has her sights set on making an impression at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Boras. 

“I did not expect this performance,” said O’Connor. “This weekend was cold but I’m used to this weather in my country. It would be amazing to win a medal at the European U20 Championships; that’s my goal for the year.”

The European U20 Championships will come too soon but Serbian javelin thrower Adriana Vilagos made another notable mark in her nascent career.

In Split on Saturday, 15-year-old Vilagos broke the world U16 best - and European U18 best - with a throw of 64.73m with the 500g javelin.

Vilagos will be too young to represent Serbia at the European U20 Championships this year but she could make her mark at next year’s European Athletics U18 Championships in Rieti, Italy. 

For posterity the winning mark in the javelin at the last edition of the European U18 Championships in Gyor was 56.71m set by Belarusian Aliaksandra Konshyna.