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Watch: Duplantis clears 6.19m to break world pole vault record

Armand Duplantis broke his own world record in the pole vault on Monday, clearing 6.19m at his third attempt at the indoor meeting in Belgrade. 

The record came in the arena where the Indoor World Championships will start on March 18 with the men’s pole vault final on March 20.

He broke the world record in an almost empty hall, and in a competition where he was the only top-ranked pole vaulter. 

After easily clearing 5.61m, 5.85m and then 6m, he passed 6.19m at his third attempt before rushing into the arms of his girlfriend at the edge of the track for a kiss.

“I think I’ve tried 6.19m 50 times,” said Duplantis. “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve never had a height that has given me that much trouble, so it’s a very good feeling. It was really hard fought over these past two years. I’m really happy.”

He had already attempted 6.19m this winter in Karlsruhe in Germany, Berlin, Uppsala in Sweden, and in Birmingham, without success.

“From now on I will attack 6.20 m, even in two weeks,” he said, sure of his strength compared to the solid competition of the American Chris Nilsen, who cleared 6.05 m on Friday in Rouen. 

The 22-year-old Swedish Olympic champion had held the record since February 2020, when he cleared 6.17m in Torun in Poland and then 6.18m in Glasgow a week apart.

At times he seems able to raise the record one centimetre at a time, like the Soviet and Ukrainian great Sergey Bubka, who, in the days when outdoors and indoors were considered separate, broke the outdoor world record 17 times and set indoor bests 18 times between 1984 and 1994.

World Athletics has done away with the distinction between indoors or outdoors in pole vault records. 

Duplantis, nicknamed “Mondo”, was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, but competes for Sweden through his mother, who trains him with his father. 

He became European champion in 2018 in Berlin at only 18, and took the Olympic title last summer in Tokyo with a jump at 6.02m. 

He will be the overwhelming favourite next week to claim one of the two titles missing from his record, along with the World Outdoor title that he will have the opportunity to win in July in Eugene, Oregon. 

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