Athletics: Duplantis soars as Asher-Smith bags third gold

BERLIN: Pole vaulter Armand Duplantis claimed Sweden’s first gold of the European championship in fine style on Sunday (Aug 12), the teenager soaring to a world junior record of 6.05 metres as Briton’s Dina Asher-Smith bagged her third gold.

Aged just 18 years and 275 days, Duplantis is the youngest athlete to win a field event at the Euros, and follows in the footsteps of 17-year-old Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s double gold showing in the 1,500 and 5,000m.

British men’s and women’s team pose after their wins in the 4x100m(Photo:AFP)

At a packed Olympic Stadium, Duplantis became just the 22nd man to go over the mythical six-metre barrier, and the youngest ever, as he set an 11th junior record in his remarkable, fledgling career.

Timur Morgunov, the Russian competing under a neutral flag as his country remains banned because of a state-sponsored doping programme, took silver with a vault of 6.00m, while France’s world record holder and three-time European champion Renaud Lavillenie claimed bronze (5.95).

‘NO WORDS’

Duplantis’ mark of 6.05m matches Lavillenie’s best outdoors, with only Ukraine great Sergey Bubka having gone higher in a stadium.

"I don’t think that there are any words in this world to describe what I feel," said Duplantis.

"I am on the top of the world, I am so happy. It could not be any better.

"After I jumped six metres, I just knew I need to go higher to solve it. It was crazy and pretty tough for me as I just improved my personal best. I had to switch the poles at the higher heights for the ones I have never used before in the competition!"

On the track, Dina Asher-Smith produced a fantastic anchor leg in the women’s 4x100m relay to seal a unprecedented third European sprint gold for Britain.

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Having already won the 100 and 200m titles, Asher-Smith took the baton in fourth place after conservative handovers between Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot and Bianca Williams.

But Asher-Smith showed all her form to power past the opposition, offering up a clinical finish for a third gold.

"I’m just honestly so proud. You go in aiming for this but you never know if it will be possible," Asher-Smith told BBC.

"I’m so grateful for all these girls for putting out their best for our country and coming home with gold."

Stand-in Harry Aikines-Aryeetey held off 200m champions Ramil Guliyev of Turkey to hand Britain gold in the men’s 4x100m relay, meaning a second championship gold for 100m champion Zharnel Hughes.

Two-time world bronze medallist Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands smashed the championship record for the women’s 5,000m, the Ethiopian-born runner timing 14:46.12, with Britain’s Eilish McColgan claiming silver, almost 7sec off the pace.

Kenya-born Turk Yasemin Can took bronze (14:57.63), but there could easily have been another Kenyan-born runner on the podium had Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, now competing for Israel, not pulled up a lap short thinking the race was over.

IMPERIOUS WLODARCZYK

With five throws that would have won the competition, Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, arguably the best women’s hammer thrower of all time, completely dominated the discipline for her fourth successive title.

The world record holder, who is the double defending Olympic champion and a three-time world gold medallist, threw a championship record of 78.94m, more than four metres better than France’s Alexandra Tavernier in silver.

Poland’s fine field medal showing continued with Joanna Fiodorow taking bronze (74.00).

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Berlin’s packed Olympic Stadium were gifted a home gold medal when Gesa-Felicitas Krause defended her 3000m steeplechase title.

A fast first mile split the field, but Krause, who fell in the London worlds last year, thrived on the crowd’s energy to clock a winning 9:19.80.

Switzerland’s Fabienne Schlumf took silver in 9:22.29, with Norway’s Karoline Groevdal claiming bronze (9:24.46).

Scottish vet Laura Muir improved on her world indoor silver by winning the women’s 1500m in 4:02.32 ahead of Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui in 4:03.08, with another Briton, Laura Weightman, taking bronze (4:03.75).

Portuguese veteran Nelson Evora left it late for gold in the men’s triple jump, going out to 17.10m on his fifth of six attempts.

The 34-year-old Ivorian-born athlete, who initially competed for Cape Verde and was 2008 Olympic champion and 2007 world gold medallist, had enough to beat out Cuban-born Azeri Alexis Copello (16.93).