sports

Duplantis fires warning shot to rivals


Pole vault king Mondo Duplantis has vowed to "crank it up another notch" next season after an "amazing" year that saw him win two world titles and continue to improve his own world record.

On the back of winning Olympic gold at last year's Tokyo Games, the US-born Swede has gone on to totally dominate his event this year, winning the world indoor title in Belgrade in March and world outdoor gold in Oregon in July.

Both titles were claimed in world record heights of 6.20 and 6.21 metres respectively. In a dream summer, Duplantis also sealed European gold in Munich.

His one glitch came last week in Brussels when he failed three times at 5.91m to break a 17-strong season win streak and hand Filipino Ernest John Obiena a shock victory.

Duplantis, 22, reacted as a winner might. He took it squarely on the chin, saying the rare defeat was the wake-up call he needed to keep him at the top of his game.

The reaction required duly came in front of 25,000 raucous spectators at Zurich's Letzigrund Stadium in Thursday's final of the Diamond League.

He cleared 6.07 metres, improving his own meet record, his rivals long out of the reckoning.

"To end like this and be able to walk away with a win – my second Diamond League trophy and another meeting record – it is the perfect cherry on top," the US-born vaulter said.

"This is everything. If I come into this competition and I don't perform well, the whole season, which was so amazing, it doesn't feel as good as it should feel."

Duplantis acknowledged that he'd enjoyed an "awesome season" during which he has vaulted higher than 6m a staggering 15 times.

"I had a lot of great competitions, but I think being able to jump 6 metres so many times, it shows this is the kind of jumper that I am right now," he said.

"In any competition, on any given day, I should think I should be able to jump 6 metres."

In a worrying statement for his rival vaulters, Duplantis said steps would be taken to improve even more next season, which will feature the world championships in Budapest in August.

"I have the same goals next year. We are going to try and crank it up another notch," he said.

"I always want to be improving, so this fall I am going to try that."

But he admitted that there would be some downtime.

"It is hard to think about next season right now," he said. "I am living the moment right now. I am really enjoying this trophy.

"I am going to have a good time, and I am going to celebrate this whole year because it was an amazing one."


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