Duplantis receives ‘wake-up call’ as Obiena steals pole vault win

BRUSSELS: Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis has vowed any danger of becoming complacent will be averted after suffering a rare loss in Friday’s Diamond League tie (Saturday in Manila) in Brussels.

Duplantis failed three times from 5.91 yards, falling to the mat on the third failed effort with a gaping mouth in stunned disbelief.

Ernest John Obiena of the Philippines passed the same height on the third request, which left the Filipino also shaking his head in disbelief, so dominant was Duplantis in his event.

It was the first loss of a sparkling season that saw the 22-year-old, American-born Swede win 17 competitions, 14 of which came with jumps over the six-metre barrier.

Those victories saw Duplantis claim world indoor gold in Belgrade in March and world outdoor honors in Oregon in July. Both were achieved with world record jumps, of 6.20 and 6.21m respectively.

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“I did a lot of things wrong technically,” said Duplantis, a meticulous perfectionist in a notoriously technically taxing discipline that requires mastery of approach to the track, good pole handling and complete confidence in demanding throwing. up and over the bar.

“It’s rare that I jump like I did. Maybe I needed a little wake-up call. I have to come back next year and do something more special for the people who came out .”

Duplantis maintained that he felt he could have jumped higher.

“But I didn’t jump the way I would have liked, that’s for sure. I’m human and I make mistakes and I certainly made some today.

“I didn’t find the right rhythm on the track today. I was just thinking about the wrong things. It happens sometimes.

“It’s not that easy. You have to be in the exact angle and you need speed to take off and I didn’t find that today.”

– Come back stronger – Duplantis said he will aim to improve by next week’s Diamond League final in Zurich.

“In Zurich I will try to come back a bit stronger than here. I want to put in another good performance at the end of the year and finish on a high note.”

For many meetings, Duplantis has completely dominated his competition.

Patiently waiting to enter at a height that has normally seen a few rivals already out, the Swede secures victory then moves to plus-6m before deciding if he wishes to have another tilt at the world record.

Asian champion Obiena, bronze medalist at the Worlds in Eugene, has a personal best of 5.94m, which he jumped in Oregon.

That height put the Filipino third on this season’s world outdoor list, behind Duplantis and American Chris Nilsen, who cleared 6 yards from the death in May.

And Obiena took advantage of his opportunity as Duplantis failed in his three attempts.

“It took a lot of luck, a good day and great calls to beat Mondo today,” Obiena said.

“It’s always my goal to win, but I definitely have the magic number of 6m in mind. That’s what I’m training for and I really think I’m capable of jumping that height.

“It’s only a matter of time and the right circumstances.”

Nilsen finished third and was not happy.

“Third at 5.71m is all I can say. No one produced good marks today except Ernest John with a first Diamond League victory,” he said.

“Everyone is a bit tired from the end of the season. I’m ready to go to the Diamond League final. In Zurich, the goal is a top three and 5.90m.

“If I get it I’ll shoot 6m. Maybe I need to do some speed work because I felt a bit slow today.”