EUGENE, United States : Olympic champion Armand Duplantis got his outdoor season off to a perfect start, winning the men’s pole vault at the Prefontaine Classic on Friday while Yaroslava Mahuchikh took gold in the women’s high jump with a new world-leading mark this season.
Duplantis, the world record holder, jumped 5.91 meters to finish ahead of Tokyo silver medallist Chris Nilsen and Norway’s Sondre Guttormsen at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene, where the world championships will be held in July.
“Going into the first outdoor meet of the season for me, it was like just trying to get a feel for the outdoor season,” said Duplantis.
The 22-year-old Swede attempted to clear 6.07 meters after gold was secured but failed with all his three efforts.
“Winning was the most important thing but I think I would be lying if I said I’m not bitter about making that (6.07 meters) bar. I felt like it was very possible … it just wasn’t for today I guess.”
Ukraine’s Mahuchikh, who won bronze at last year’s Olympics, soared to gold with a jump of 2.00 meters, edging out American Vashti Cunningham and Kazakhstan’s Nadezhda Dubovitskaya under the lights at Hayward Field.
“The jumps were fantastic. I am happy to compete at this stadium because this July the world championships are here,” said Mahuchikh.
“I planned for good to open my season because I missed competition … I think two meters is a good jump to open my outdoor season and I hope my season will go higher than two meters.”
In the women’s discus, Olympic champion Valarie Allman of the United States threw 68.35 meters on her penultimate attempt to take home gold. Double Olympic gold medallist Sandra Perkovic finished second, with Kristin Pudenz in third.
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