Diamond League - Armand-DUPLANTIS
Armand DUPLANTIS becomes the Diamond League Champion with a victory in the Men's Pole Vault with a height of 6.23m in a new World Record at the 2023 Prefontaine Classic

The first of 15 Wanda Diamond League meetings got off to a spectacular start in Xiamen, China, on Saturday, 20 April 2024.

Perhaps the surest gold medal at the upcoming Paris Olympics is in the pole vault, with the question not being who will win but the clearance height. Such is the dominance of wunderkind Amand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis. The Swede’s show-stopping performance on Saturday left spectators inside the stadium and around the world feeling dizzy. 

Duplantis, the Olympic and world champion, had already secured victory after clearing 6m. However, he wasn’t satisfied and decided to raise the bar, quite literally, to a world record 6.24m. “I didn’t know how exactly my body would react, but it definitely felt like it was within reach after that six-metre bar,” he said, adding an element of suspense to the already thrilling event.

Duplantis, who admitted he was sloppy in Glasgow despite winning his second world indoor title, came to China with a burning desire. “So I brought a bit of fire to this outdoor season. I was excited to get it started.” ALSO READ: Ethan Katzberg Hammers World-Leading Throw at Kip Keino Classic

Duplantis warned he’s just starting, “There’s still some higher heights in me, for sure, as long as everything is in the right place.”

  • Wanda Diamond League meeting in Xiamen on April 20, 2024
  • Wanda Diamond League meeting in Xiamen on April 20, 2024
  • Wanda Diamond League meeting in Xiamen on April 20, 2024
  • Wanda Diamond League meeting in Xiamen on April 20, 2024
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Elsewhere, Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay won the women’s 1500m race in stunning fashion, clocking 3:50.30, to move third on the world all-time list.

“It’s a surprise for me,” said Tsegay. I knew I was in good shape in training, but my mentality has changed. Competition is easy for me, but training is hard.”

With this victory, Tsegay, the reigning world 10,000m champion, is now spoiled for choices regarding which events to run at the Paris Olympics. “Which one? I don’t know,” she said. I’ll see with my coach in training. Maybe three (events), maybe two.”

All ten competitors in the men’s 100m race struggled to break 10 seconds. In the end, USA’s Christian Coleman prevailed over his compatriot Fred Kerley. Coleman, who looked sharp in training videos, saw his bullet start deserting him, forcing him to come from behind to win in 10.13 (-0.6m/s). Kerley was second in 10.17, and Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake was third with 10.20.

“Usually I’m out, 15 or 20 metres into the race, but I feel like today I was a step behind, so I feel really good about the fact I was able to stay composed, stay in my lane and put together a good race,” said Coleman.

The women’s 100m hurdles lived up to the hype, with Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn producing a late surge to clinch a morale-boosting victory. The Puerto Rican registered a meeting record of 12.45 (-0.2m/s) to edge the fast-starting world indoor champion Devynne Charlton (12.49) and France’s Cyréna Samba-Mayela, who set a national record of 12.55 in claiming third. World champion Danielle Williams was fourth with 12.56, ahead of world record holder Tobi Amusan (12.58).

“Luckily, I got this win,” said Camacho-Quinn. I’ll go back and work on my start. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself. But now I need to think of ways that might help me relax and focus on what I need to do. Right now, I am kind of where I was three years ago.”

During the press conference a day earlier, Olympic champion Hansle Parchment admitted he was a bit rusty and it showed. He finished sixth in the men’s 110m hurdles, won by American Daniel Roberts in 13.11 (-0.3m/s). Robert’s countryman Cordell Tinch was second in 13.16 ahead of the fast-rising Shunsuke Izumiya of Japan, who finished third in 13.17. Olympic champion Hansle Parchment stopped the clock at 13.33.

The women’s 200m produced a massive upset as Australian teenager Torrie Lewis, running from lane nine, whizzed by US star Sha’Carri Richardson and won in 22.96 (-0.4m/s) to Richardson’s 22.99. USA’s Tamara Clark was next best with 23.01. Richardson, who television cameras caught stroking her new hairdo in a shortlived victory pose, summed up her race. “I felt really good as a season opener,” said Richardson. “I know what I need to work on, and I’m excited for the next meet.”

Lewis was shocked by her win. “My goal was to hang on as long as I could,” she said. “I didn’t even notice I’d beaten them until I saw the replay and I was like, ‘holy crap.’”

Marileidy Paulino won the women’s 400m with 50.08 seconds, beating Natalia Kaczmarek from Poland, who finished second in 50.29 seconds. Britton Wilson from the USA came in third with a time of 51.26 seconds.

Portugal’s Pedro Pichardo triumphantly returned to the men’s triple jump after being out of action for 11 months. The Olympic champion bounded to 17.51m in the final round to put the contest beyond reigning world champion Hugues Fabrice Zango, whose best effort was 17.12m.

“It was good; the atmosphere was magnificent,” said Pichardo. “There are many areas I need to improve and lots of technical work to do. Now, I’m going to continue my preparation for the Olympics and maintain my health.”

American Valarie Allman produced a big throw to claim victory in a thrilling women’s discus. The Olympic champion launched the disc 69.80m in the fifth round to overtake Cuba’s Yaimé Pérez, who had been leading up to that point with her first-round effort of 68.83m.

“I’m always grateful to start the season with a win, especially in such a talented field,” said Allman. 

Conditions proved challenging in the men’s high jump as a downpour dampened the runway. American Shelby McEwen beat Olympic champion Mutaz Essa Barshim on countback after both men cleared 2.27m but knocked the bar down at 2.31m. Jamaica’s Christoff Bryan finished seventh after clearing 2.20m on his third and final attempt. Bryan bowed out of the competition when he failed to negotiate 2.24m. 

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