EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) – Armand Duplantis brought down the curtain on the World Championships in stunning fashion on Sunday, breaking his own pole vault world record in the final act of the 10-day track and field meet in Eugene.
After the United States claimed emphatic victories in both the men’s and women’s 4×400 metre relays, Duplantis took centre stage and duly delivered a perfect finale for the first championships on American soil.
The Swede sailed over 6.21 metres to surpass his previous mark by one centimetre – set in March en route to winning gold at the World Indoor Championships – and complete his collection of medals by claiming a first world title.
“It’s great; I cannot complain,” Duplantis said. “Actually, I did not think about the record that much today …. I really wanted to win the gold so badly. It was the medal I was missing.
“So when I was on this height, it was like everything came together and it happened from there.”
American Chris Nilsen took silver with 5.94 metres on countback from Ernest John Obiena, whose bronze was the first-ever world medal for the Philippines.
Unheralded Nigerian Tobi Amusan had earlier stolen the show in the women’s 100 metres hurdles, rocketing to a new world record of 12.12 seconds in the semi-finals.
She then won the gold in what was initially announced as a world record 12.06, although excessive wind speeds meant her time was ruled out.
“The goal was to come out and to win this gold…. The world record is a bonus,” said Amusan, who finished 0.17 seconds ahead of Jamaican Britany Anderson while Puerto Rico’s Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn went home with bronze.
American Athing Mu held off British rival Keeley Hodgkinson to add the world 800 metres title to her Olympic crown while Germany’s Malaika Mihambo, also a gold medallist in Tokyo, retained her long jump title.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway made up for this runner-up finish in the 1,500 metres with a convincing victory in the 5,000 metres, where reigning Olympic champion and world record holder Joshua Cheptegei faltered and finished in ninth place.
“I needed it,” Ingebrigtsen said. “I felt really good today … but 5 kilometres is a tough race.”
French world record holder Kevin Mayer regained the decathlon title after impressive performances in the pole vault and javelin, seizing opportunity after a competition-ending injury to Olympic champion Damian Warner.
In the morning session, Italy’s Massimo Stano claimed a one-second victory over Masatora Kawano of Japan in the men’s 35km race walk, adding a world gold to his Olympic crown.
The United States wrapped up the championships by consolidating their place at the top of the medals table with a championship record 33 medals.
The men’s quartet came home in two minutes, 56.17 seconds and strengthened the Americans’ stranglehold on the event. The United States has now won eight of the past nine world titles and eight of the past 10 Olympic golds.
Sydney McLaughlin, the newly crowned 400 metres hurdles gold medallist, anchored the women’s team and ran a remarkable 47.91 final leg to give the hosts their 13th gold medal of the event.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; Editing by Bradley Perrett)