Sweden’s Armand Duplantis maintained his amazing form to turn the tables on world champion Sam Hendricks for a 16th consecutive victory in the men’s pole vault at Friday’s Diamond League meet in Doha.
American Hendricks was the last person to beat the Swede, in Doha’s Khalifa Stadium at last year’s world championships.
But a couple of kilometres away at the more intimate Qatari Sports Club, Duplantis walked away with victory with a best vault of 5.82 metres, far off the world outdoor record of 6.15m he set in Rome last week.
Duplantis failed once at 5.92 and also 6.00m before calling it a day.
“It’s been a fantastic season and I enjoyed sharing the moment tonight with the guys,” said Duplantis.
“I enjoyed the jump and the rivalry with Sam. It’s been fun with him as we have always got back at each other.”
Echoing the views of many athletes, Duplantis added: “It’s been a rollercoaster year, sort of. I broke the indoor world record earlier in the year and I was enjoying the season but all of a sudden the pandemic came and everything shut down and no one knew what will happen next.
“It’s great (to be) back and I hope things keep improving.”
Hendricks was second on countback and France’s Renaud Lavillenie third in humid, hot conditions with a temperature of 32 degrees Celsius (90F).
On the track, Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica followed up on her 10.85sec in Rome with a facile victory in the 100m in 10.87sec, Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou a distant second in 11.21.
“I am happy to win but my major focus is to finish the year healthy,” said Thompson-Herah.
“Preparations for the Olympics is next on my agenda and it begins in earnest.”