ROME, ITALY, September 17—Four times in his last 4 meets Mondo Duplantis had tried to add the honor of the highest outdoor vault ever to his absolute World Record. Stockholm, Lausanne, Brussels & Berlin: in each one he had come up short.
But things turned magic on his second attempt at the Mennea Golden Gala stop on the Diamond League circuit. That something big might be in play on a day where the stadium was essentially devoid of spectators was really evident at 19-¼ (5.80), where the 20-year-old Louisiana native produced one of those soaring clearances that have come to be his trademark. Atypically, he had a bad miss in his first shot at 19-2¼ (5.85), but then essayed a monster clearance on his second.
Then it was on to the 6-meter (19-8¼) barrier. “Barrier?” No longer part of the young Swede’s lexicon! Following one of his typical speedy trips down the runway he soared up and over cleanly for meet No. 10 on the year at 6m or better.
Next up was the all-time no-roof record. Skyward climbed the bar to 20-2 (6.15), a centimeter above the mark set by legendary Sergey Bubka in ’94. First try: oh-so-close, snicking the crosspiece with his chest on the way down. Second-try: a well-clear make, and Mondo added the outdoor mark to his absolute best of 20-3¼ (6.18) set indoors in February. Understandably, he then called it a day. (Continued below)
“In the last two jumps I found my rhythm again,” he said. “Finally! It is sooo cool. I wanted to get over 6.15 so badly.
Everybody kept talking about it; it was a big chip on my shoulder and I felt I had to do it to get people to stop asking me the question. When I did it, it was more relief than joy.” There was also a sad part: “My mom and dad weren’t here today. Usually one of them is with me. I am a bit disappointed about that. My dad has never been with me when I jumped a WR.”
Next? “Maybe I will party a bit, just hang out with the guys, but trying to stay a little focused because I have one last meet in Doha in a week. I will stay in Rome until I fly to Doha. After the last meet in Doha, I can really party and chill.”
How the best of the rest of the events played out, in chronological order:
Women’s HJ: Yet Another Ukrainian 1–2
With yearly world height leader Mariya Lasitskene confined to home soil as part of the Russian exclusion, Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko and Yaroslava Mahuchikh have been going at it hammer and tongs for international dominance. Mahuchikh came to Italy leading their yearly series 5–2, including DL wins in Monaco and Stockholm, but Levchenko came out on top here.
Both were perfect through 6-2 (1.88), but when Mahuchikh missed once at 6-3½ (1.92) her older rival was in the lead to stay. Both made 6-4¾ (1.95) on first attempt, but Mahuchikh couldn’t handle 6-6 (1.98) while Levchenko was good on first try. “This was a very strange atmosphere without an audience because we really need the public sport to perform well,” said the winner.
Men’s 400H: Warholm Brilliant Again
Karsten Warholm, on his way to what looks like a second undefeated season in a row, won his 14th-straight 400H race—his fifth of the year—with a smashing 47.07, the No. 8 performance ever.
Starting in his favored lane 7, the 2-time world champion jetted out at full speed, easily reaching hurdle 1 first. He kept applying the pressure on the backstretch, touching down from hurdle 5 at 20.6.
Then, with fatigue already showing in his closest pursuers—Rasmus Mägi and Ludvy Vaillant—the Norseman unbelievably accelerated into the final stretch, almost running up on the final hurdle before crossing the line in his third-fastest time ever.
Such is his dominance that even though he won by some 15m, Vaillant (48.69) and Mägi (48.72) moved to Nos. 2 and 3 on the yearly list, as the only other men to break 49 this season. In 4th, Dave Kendziera lowered the yearly U.S. best to 49.35.
Said the winner, “It is good fun for me coming here to Rome with the warm weather and no winds, unlike back home in Norway where it is now cold and rainy. The World Record? I am quite used to talking about it and I love it because it shows that I am in the right pace, that I am close. This year, I am getting a lot of MRs, my average time is getting really good. I am really satisfied with being on that level.”
Men’s 3000: Jacob Over Jakob
A scintillating 3000 battle between a pair of precocious teenagers owed everything to rabbit Seán Tobin of Ireland, who towed the field on a perfect pace (59.6-59.9-60.0-60.1), passing the kilo in 2:29.55 and 1600 in 3:59.6 before yielding 100m later.
That left Aussie Stewart McSweyn—fresh off his 3:32.17 1500 win in Zagreb 2 days earlier—in the lead. He didn’t shirk, his eyes on the national record of 7:32.19 set by Craig Mottram in ’06.
Followed closely by Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo and Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, McSweyn passed 2000 in 4:59.47. The trio had already broken away from the chase pack. With 650 to go, Ingebrigtsen eased into 2nd. A half-lap later he took the lead with Kiplimo in pursuit and the three entered the final lap with the virtual guarantee of sub-7:30.
While McSweyn lost a stride or more to the top two, Ingebrigtsen was unable to shake Kiplimo, who went past him with half the straightaway left to claim the win in a Ugandan Record 7:26.64 to become the No. 8 performer ever. Ingebrigtsen (7:27.05) got a national standard of his own, but fell 0.43 shy of the all-time European best. Last laps: Kiplimo 56.4, Ingebrigtsen 57.1. And McSweyn was thrilled with his NR 7:28.02 in 3rd.
Said Kiplimo, the World Cross runner-up who ran 12:48.63 in the Ostrava 5000 in his only other race this season, “I am over the moon. I did not expect such a great time. The pacemaker was fantastic.”
“I am really happy with the result,” admitted runner-up Ingebrigtsen, in the final two days of his teen years—and just 56 days older than Kiplimo. “Looking back this has been a horrible year but a good season.”
Women’s 100H: Visser In Control
After losing in Chorzów 11 days ago, her first outdoor defeat this year after 5 wins in a row, Nadine Visser bounced back to the top spot. The Dutch two-time World Champs finalist, who through ’17 also did elite heptathlon duty, got over the first hurdle about even with Cindy Ofili, Payton Chadwick and Cyréna Samba-Mayela—as French teen Samba-Mayela struck the barrier. Visser was clear in the lead by hurdle 2 and fired away to a 12.72 victory from the craning lean of Italy’s Luminosa Bogliolo (12.83).
Said Visser, the yearly world leader with a pair of 12.68s, “I feel really good. This was the last race of the season and I feel how my body is tired.”
In the second Diamond League start of her career ’19 Arkansas grad Chadwick moved into 3rd ahead of Ofili after the ninth hurdle to claim the U.S. season lead at 12.89.
Men’s 110H: Pozzi Wins, Mallett Chops Wood
Andy Pozzi came away with a nice 13.15 win in the hurdles, overcoming a slowish start and nicking hurdle 5 before pulling away over the final barriers.
The Briton, who trains in Formia, Italy, quipped, “To win here has always been the one I wanted to win—I drove here from my house today.”
He was pushed to the line by American Aaron Mallett, who clocked a PR of 13.23 despite nailing 7 of the hurdles en route. In 3rd was Mallett’s onetime high school teammate Freddie Crittenden in 13.31.
Women’s 800: Reekie Over Roomie & The Rest
Jemma Reekie is living temporarily in training partner Laura Muir’s home. The arrangement seems to suit the 22-year-old Scot, who won here with her third straight sub-1:59 outing in the last 3 weeks.
Since Muir put up a world-leading 1500 time, 3:57.90, in Berlin 4 days ago, she may have been the favorite on paper. But if you guessed Reekie would show fatigue from a tight race in Bellinzona just 2 days earlier—won by Hedda Hynne in 1:58.10—you’d have been wrong.
The field started cautiously and laid off the pacing of hare Souliath Saka (27.5/59.36). At the bell Reekie led a closely clustered group some 4m behind the rabbit before American Kaela Edwards ran to the front among the racers. When Saka stepped off around 500m, Muir attacked. She led Reekie by half a step at 600 (1:30.99), but it was the younger housemate whose speed showed around the curve.
Reekie hit the homestretch almost a meter ahead of Muir and Hynne and raced home striding out for a 1:59.76 victory 2m clear of Norwegian Hynne (2:00.24). Christina Hering claimed 4th from Edwards 2:00.75–2:00.79.
Said Reekie, “It was a really good race. It was fun. I am happy to finish the season with a win. I would have liked to achieve a new SB or a PB, but I tried something new. Plus, the pace was too slow. I felt safe the whole time. This was the last race of the season. I will go home to Scotland and spend my holidays there with friends and family. And then I am trying to work hard and strong.”
Women’s 100: World Lead For Thompson-Herah
Double Olympic sprint champ Elaine Thompson-Herah finished ’19 on, for her, a low note. After a 4th-place 100 finish at last year’s World Championships she withdrew from the rest of the meet, hobbled by an Achilles injury. Here the 28-year-old Jamaican, in her first ’20 European appearance, looked full of health as she sped across the line in 10.85 to claim the world lead by 0.01.
Having zipped 10.88 at home in Kingston in early August, here Thompson-Herah accelerated patiently through her drive phase with good starts shown also by Americans Aleiah Hobbs and Kayla White. From 35m on, though, it was all Thompson-Herah, and she crossed the line almost 2m clear of Hobbs’s seasonal best 11.12. The 11.14 clocking in 3rd for three-time Worlds medalist Marie-Josée Ta Lou was also a yearly low.
“I leave here with the world-leading time,” said Thompson-Herah. “I’m super-excited. This tells me where I am at the end of this season, and tells me how I can prepare for next year.” By no means alone in the assessment, she added, “This year required more adjusting, and my goal was to push back and to motivate myself. I am a double Olympic champion, and I know I want to run well next year, so I want to be in my top for next season. We had some competitions in Jamaica, but obviously the field was not as strong as it is here.”
Men’s 100: Simbine Closes Fast
In the meet-ending 100, fast-starting Arthur Cissé of Côte d’Ivoire led for most of the way but was run down in the final 20 by South Africa’s undefeated Akane Simbine, who took the 9.96-10.04 win. “I executed this race really well,” said Simbine. “The last two races I struggled with my start, but not here.”
Italy’s Filippo Tortu (10.09) and Lamont Jacobs (10.11) grabbed the next two spots ahead of the season best 10.12 for American Mike Rodgers.
ROME DL MEN’S RESULTS
Mennea Golden Gala; Rome Italy, September 17—
100(0.3): 1. Akani Simbine (SA) 9.96; 2. Arthur Gue Cissé (CI) 10.04; 3. Filippo Tortu (Ita) 10.09; 4. Lamont Marcell Jacobs (Ita) 10.11; 5. Mike Rodgers (US) 10.12; 6. Julian Forte (Jam) 10.15; 7. Deniz Almas (Ger) 10.27; 8. Mouhamadou Fall (Fra) 10.29; 9. Mario Burke (Bar) 10.34.
400: 1. Edoardo Scotti (Ita) 45.21 PR; 2. Yousef Karam (Kuw) 45.25; 3. Karol Zalewski (Pol) 45.48; 4. Jochem Dobber (Neth) 45.64 PR; 5. Rabah Yousif (GB) 45.65; 6. Luka Janezic (Slo) 45.78; 7. Vladimir Aceti (Ita) 46.28; 8. Kennedy Luchembe (Zam) 46.43; 9. Wesley Vázquez (PR) 46.67 PR.
3000: 1. Jacob Kiplimo (Uga) 7:26.64 NR (WL) (8, 16 W) (fastest since ’07) (60.1, 60.0 (2:00.1), 60.1 (3:00.2), 59.9 (4:00.1), 59.4 (4:59.5), 60.6 (6:00.1), 58.6 (6:58.7), 28.0) (28.0, 56.4); 2. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Nor) 7:27.05 NR (9, x W) (28.7, 57.1);
3. Stewart McSweyn (Aus) 7:28.02 NR (4:59.47); 4. Yemaneberhan Crippa (Ita) 7:38.27 NR; 5. Mike Foppen (Neth) 7:39.75 PR; 6. Isaac Kimeli (Bel) 7:47.48 PR; 7. Matthew Ramsden (Aus) 7:48.08; 8. Osama Zoghlami (Ita) 7:48.63 PR; 9. Petro Riva (Ita) 7:50.03 PR; 10. Ryan Gregson (Aus) 7:53.65; 11. Marouan Razine (Ita) 7:54.80;… rabbit—Sean Tobin (Ire) (2:29.55).
110H(0.1): 1. Andy Pozzi (GB) 13.15; 2. Aaron Mallett (US) 13.23 PR; 3. Freddie Crittenden (US) 13.31; 4. Wilhem Belocian (Fra) 13.49; 5. Yakoub Al-Yoha (Kuw) 13.60; 6. Lorenzo Perini (Ita) 13.61; 7. Antonio Alkana (SA) 13.66; 8. Gabriel Constantino (Bra) 13.67; 9. Paolo Dal Molin (Ita) 13.70.
400H: 1. Karsten Warholm (Nor) 47.07 (x, 8 W);
2. Ludy Vaillant (Fra) 48.69; 3. Rasmus Mägi (Est) 48.72;
4. Dave Kendziera (US) 49.35 (AL);
5. Wilfried Happio (Fra) 49.65; 6. Mario Lambrughi (Ita) 49.87; 7. Constantin Preis (Ger) 49.91; 8. Nick Smidt (Neth) 50.67; 9. Marcio Teles (Bra) 51.04.
HJ: 1. Andriy Protsenko (Ukr) 7-6½ (2.30); 2. Gianmarco Tamberi (Ita) 7-5¼ (2.27); 3. Stefano Sottile (Ita) 7-1¾ (2.18); 4. Adrijus Glebauskas (Lit) 7-1¾; 5. Oleh Doroshchuk (Ukr) 7-1¾; 6. Matús Bubeník (Svk) 7-1¾.
PV: 1. Mondo Duplantis (Swe) 20-2 (6.15) (outdoor WR—old, 20-1¾/6.14 Sergey Bubka [Ukr] ’93) (x, =4 W) (17-10½, 18-8¼, 19-¼, 19-2¼ , 19-8¼, 20-2 ) (5.45, 5.70, 5.80, 5.85 , 6.00, 6.15 );
2. Ben Broeders (Bel) 19-¼ (5.80) NR; 3. Ernest John Obiena (Phi) 19-¼; 4. Renaud Lavillenie (Fra) 18-8¼ (5.70); 5. Harry Coppell (GB) 18-4½ (5.60); 6. Thibaut Collet (Fra) 18-4½; 7. Raphael Holzdeppe (Ger) 17-10½ (5.45);… nh—Claudio Michel Stecchi (Ita).
SP: 1. Nick Ponzio (US) 69-2½ (21.09); 2. Payton Otterdahl (US) 68-5 (20.85); 3. Leonardo Fabbri (Ita) 67-10¾ (20.69); 4. Tsanko Arnaudov (Por) 67-7 (20.60); 5. Konrad Bukowiecki (Pol) 65-9½ (20.05); 6. Bob Bertemes (Lux) 65-8¾ (20.03); 7. Zane Weir (SA) 63-9 (19.43).
ROME DL WOMEN’S RESULTS
100(0.2): 1. Elaine Thompson-Herah (Jam) 10.85 (WL);
2. Aleia Hobbs (US) 11.12; 3. Marie-Josée Ta Lou (CI) 11.14; 4. Ajla Del Ponte (Swi) 11.19; 5. Imani Lansiquot (GB) 11.23; 6. Kayla White (US) 11.27; 7. Anna Bongiorni (Ita) 11.38; 8. Marije van Hunenstijn (Neth) 11.42; 9. Anthonique Strachan (Bah) 11.42.
400: 1. Lieke Klaver (Neth) 50.98 PR; 2. Agnė Šerkšnienė (Lit) 51.80; 3. Justyna Święty-Ersetic (Pol) 51.94; 4. Corinna Schwab (Ger) 52.12; 5. Barbora Malíková (CzR) 52.17; 6. Tiffani Silva Marinho (Bra) 52.44; 7. Laviai Nielsen (GB) 52.45; 8. Alice Mangione (Ita) 52.78; 9. Rebecca Borga (Ita) 52.88.
800: 1. Jemma Reekie (GB) 1:59.76; 2. Hedda Hynne (Nor) 2:00.24; 3. Laura Muir (GB) 2:00.49; 4. Christina Hering (Ger) 2:00.75; 5. Kaela Edwards (US) 2:00.79; 6. Alexandria Bell (GB) 2:01.37; 7. Lore Hoffmann (Swi) 2:01.46; 8. Elena Bello (Ita) 2:02.10; 9. Noélie Yarigo (Ben) 2:02.98; 10. Eleonora Vandi (Ita) 2:03.17;… rabbit—Souliath Saka (Ben) (59.36).
100H(0.1): 1. Nadine Visser (Neth) 12.72; 2. Luminosa Bogliolo (Ita) 12.83;
3. Payton Chadwick (US) 12.89 (AL);
4. Cindy Ofili (GB) 13.02; 5. Taliyah Brooks (US) 13.05; 6. Elisa Maria di Lazzaro (Ita) 13.05; 7. Cyréna Samba-Mayela (Fra) 13.29; 8. Mette Graversgaard (Den) 13.30; 9. Annimari Korte (Fin) 13.34.
400H: 1. Femke Bol (Neth) 53.90; 2. Anna Ryzhykova (Ukr) 54.54; 3. Viktoriya Tkachuk (Ukr) 54.93 PR; 4. Sara Slott Petersen (Den) 55.20; 5. Amalie Iuel (Nor) 55.27; 6. Jessie Knight (GB) 55.58; 7. Emma Zapletalová (Svk) 56.02; 8. Ayomide Folorunso (Ita) 56.58.
HJ: 1. Yuliya Levchenko (Ukr) 6-6 (1.98); 2. Yaroslava Mahuchikh (Ukr) 6-4¾ (1.95); 3. Nicola McDermott (Aus) 6-4¾; 4. Erika Kinsey (Swe) 6-4¾; 5. Levern Spencer (StL) 6-½ (1.84); 6. Claire Orcel (Bel) 6-½; 7. Elena Vallortigara (Ita) 5-10¾ (1.80).