Record-setting Duplantis lights up Xiamen, Richardson upset

Agence France-Presse
Record-setting Duplantis lights up Xiamen, Richardson upset
Swedish athlete Armand Duplantis reacts as he competes in the men's pole vault event during the International indoor athletics meeting All Star Perche at the House of sports in Clermont-Ferrand, central France, on February 22, 2024.
Jean-Philippe Ksiazerk / AFP

XIAMEN, China -- Sweden's Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis opened his outdoor season in Olympic year in stunning fashion on Saturday as he bettered his own pole vault world record at the Xiamen Diamond League meeting.

Duplantis, the reigning Olympic, two-time world and European champion, fired out a warning to any potential rivals at this summer's Paris Games by sailing over 6.24 metres at his first attempt at the Egret Stadium to improve by 1cm his previous best set in Eugene last year.

The US-born 24-year-old entered competition at 5.62m, clearing 5.82 and 6.00m before setting the new world record -- his eighth in the discipline, each by 1cm since first breaking the record in February 2020 in Torun, Poland.

"This is my first time in China and it's exciting to get my season going," said Duplantis, who retained his world indoor title in Glasgow last month with a 6.10m clearance.

American Sam Hendricks, who finished second with a best of 5.82m, a massive 42 centimetres adrift, said Duplantis has got "God's hand on his back".

"I've been a champion before, Mondo has been my vice-champion. I've seen him from a 14-year-old come all the way up and it makes me actually ever joyous to be even just second place behind the world record holder because I know he works so darned hard, he goes all over the place and he's becoming the true champion we all want him to be."

Australian teenager Torrie Lewis produced a devastating finish to upset world 100m champion Sha'Carri Richardson in the 200m.

Richardson, who also won world bronze for Team USA in the 200m in Budapest last year, looked to have victory sewn up but hadn't counted on 19-year-old Lewis way out in lane nine, who won in 22.96sec.

"It's kind of late for me in the season to open up," said Richardson. "I was a little nervous but once I was on the track it felt like home.

"I felt really good with this first performance. I know what I've got to work on."

- 'Never raced them' -
Lewis said she was shocked, not having expected to win against a high-calibre field.

"No, not at all! My goal was honestly just to hold on as long as I could. I was in lane nine so I knew they'd all be chasing me," Lewis said.

"I just did nationals on Sunday so came straight here from that. And this is most of their season openers so I knew I had an edge coming in but I wasn't sure because I've never raced them.

"I honestly didn't notice I'd beaten them until I saw the replay and it was like 'Holy crap!'"

There was no such drama for Christian Coleman in the men's 100m, the American capitalising on a trademark fast start for the win in 10.13sec, teammate Fred Kerley in second at 0.04sec.

Gudaf Tsegay, a multi-medallist between 1500-10,000m, led home a quintet of Ethiopians as she set a meet record and world lead of 3:50.30 to win the women's 1500m. It was the third fastest race ever run.

"I'm surprised because it's my first race outdoors!" said Tsegay. "Competition is easy, training is hard for me!"

A loaded 100m hurdles saw Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn come from behind to take the win in a meeting record of 12.45sec.

Two other reigning world champions secured victories, Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic winning the women's 400m in 50.08sec while Canada's Marco Arop claimed the men's 800m in a rapid 1:43.61.

In the field, American Shelby McEwen claimed victory with a best of 2.27m ahead of Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim in the men's high jump and Cuban-born Portuguese Pedro Pichardo won the men's triple jump with 17.51m.

China had one winner in the shape of Olympic champion Lijao Gong in the women's shot put (19.72m), with local athletes having another chance to shine as the Diamond League moves on to Shanghai next weekend.

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