IN THE WEEKS preceding the European Indoor, a pair of notable World Records fell on the continent: One, a 41-year-old mark taken down as part of the build-up to İstanbul; the other — not at all such a shock, but still sublime — by an athlete who will be skipping the championships.
Bol Covers 2 Laps In 49.26
“I wanted that World Record so bad, and I thought I could do it,” said Femke Bol after shattering the World Indoor 400 Record of 49.59 that Czech legend Jarmila Kratochvílová set 41 years ago.
Starting from lane 6 at the Dutch Championships (Apeldoorn, February 19), the 400H WC runner-up did not get out as well as teammate Lieke Klaver in lane 5. Klaver nearly made up the stagger on the second turn and it wasn’t till they hit the straight that Bol’s momentum carried her to a commanding lead. She passed 200 in 23.7 after a 12.4 100, then powered past 300 in 35.9. Entering the final curve, she had a 3-stride lead on Klaver and she carried that to the finish in 49.26.
“I had to stick to the instructions of my coaches,” explained Bol just 4 days before her 23rd birthday. “That worked. What I did wrong last week in Liévin between 200 and 300m was a good learning experience, but it went perfectly now, pushing through that hard. Then that record was too much in my head.
“This was really the right atmosphere with all that audience and Lieke’s opposition to hype up this match. An ideal race for this home crowd.” Kratochvílová’s record was the oldest WR in track, indoors or out in a standard event.
Despite running exactly as fast as Allyson Felix ever did, Bol says her focus outdoors will be on the hurdles: “My form promises a lot for the outdoor season. Everything is going better, sprinting but also endurance.” Before then she will defend her Euro Indoor titles at 400 and 4×4.
Mondo’s Latest: 20-4¾ (6.22)
Jumping in the annual vault-only competition at Clermont-Ferrand’s Maison des Sports in central France, Mondo Duplantis cleared his highest bar ever, a 20-4¾ (6.22) that marked the sixth time in his career that he has bettered the World Record.
It was the final indoor competition of the year for the 23-year-old Swede, who had attempted that height twice earlier this his 4-meet season.
Duplantis entered the All-Star Perche competition (organized by former WR holder Renaud Lavillenie) at 18-8¾ (5.71), which he cleared on his first attempt. He passed 19-¾ (5.81) and topped 19-4¾ (5.91) in two tries. A clearance at 19-8½ (6.01) gave him the win over Australia’s Kurtis Marschall (19-4¾). Menno Vloon of the Netherlands also cleared 19-4¾ in 3rd.
The historic clearance came on attempt No. 3, and his hips pivoted well above the bar. On landing, Duplantis and Lavillenie embraced on the pit as the arena erupted with noise and sparks shot into the air.
“I wanted to do it for Renaud,” he said. “This is really special.” The clearance created another useful statistic—increasing his record total of 6-meter jumps to 60.
“When you have moments like this, when the energy is so high, and you’re going down there for the record, it feels like levitating, it feels like my body never even touched the ground the whole jump,” Duplantis said. “There’s something about it that just feels overwhelming right now, and I really think it’s because Renaud means so much to me; he’s meant so much to me since I first started, he’s been my biggest inspiration, biggest idol.
“He really motivated me, made me believe that I could break the World Record. So for me to break the World Record here, his hometown, his competition that he hosts…” ◻︎