September 26, 2020

Duo chasing records in Rome

6 min read

(Photo by Jean Pierre Durand)

Pole vault sensation Armand Duplantis and in-form 400m hurdler Karsten Warholm will be out for another crack at elusive world records at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea Diamond League meeting in Rome later today.

Warlhom has made the one lap hurdle all his own this season, at times making his rivals look ordinary. The 24-year-old Norwegian has been unbeaten this season.

In late August at the Diamond League in Stockholm, Warholm ran a personal best of 46.87, missing Kevin Young’s world record of 46.78. This was the third performance in history surpassing 47 seconds, and with it Warholm became the first person to break 47 seconds twice.

The Norwegian started the pandemic shortened season in June when he competed in the Impossible Games in Oslo where he ran the 300m hurdles  with a world best time of 33.78 besting Chris Rawlinson’s time of 34.48 set in 2002. He also ran a 400 m indoors with a time of 45.97.

The two-time world champion has made it clear in every meet that his intention was to better Young’s long standing record. In Stockholm, he was denied the record after a mistake of knocking the last hurdle saw him lose valuable time.

World leaders Nadine Visser (100m hurdles) and Femke Bol (400m hurdles) will also be intent on maintaining their dominance over the barriers in their respective events.

Duplantis, the French 20-year-old sensation already has the world indoor record but has been adamant of adding outdoor record to his name as well.

Duplantis, who set world records of 6.17m and 6.18m on the World Athletics Indoor Tour in February, has been foiled in his previous attempts this year to clear 6.15m to topple Russian Sergey Bubka’s 26-year-old outdoor monument of 6.14m.

On Sunday,  swirling winds foiled his crack at the record during the ISTAF Continental Tour meeting in Berlin.

Duplantis has swept aside all competitions and goes to Rome at the back of 14 wins in as many competitions this yea.

World champion Sam Kendricks of the USA has given Rome as miss, but Duplantis will have former world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie for company. Lavillenie won the French title last weeked with a a season’s best of 5.80m. Also looking to give Duplantis a hard time is newly-crowned British champion Harry Coppell (5.85m).

Filipino Ernest Obiena, who had a breakthrough victory at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Ostrava last week, defeating Kendricks enroute will also be in action.

The event in Rome will also see the return of Olympic 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah to international competition this year in the 100m

The Jamaican clocked 10.88 in at a local meet Kingston in June and a wind-assisted 10.73 in July.

The fastest runner outside of Jamaica this year in the European circuit is the fast rising Swiss sprinter Ajla Del Ponte. But Del Ponte will have to up her game as her fastest time recorded in Europe so far this year is only a 11.08.

The men’s 100m features a trio of top-class sprinters making their Diamond League debuts this year, with South Africa’s Akani Simbine taking on American Mike Rodgers and Julian Forte of Jamaica.

The women’s 800m race is expected to serve up a cracker with Scottish training partners Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie bent on outdoing each other. The younger Reekie has the world-leading time of 1:58.63, to Muir’s 1:58.84, and is undefeated in outdoor competition over two laps this year.

Similarly the men’s 3,000m race is also expected to be a thriller if both the top drawcards live up to expectations.

Norwegian 19-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen, coming off two wins over world-class 1500m fields, and Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo,coming off an eye-catching win over 5000m in Ostrava will bethe two top guns in the race. Australia’s Stewart McSweyn will also be in the mix after a strong season.

The Ukrainian world championships silver medalists duo of Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Yuliya Levchenkoare also expected to resume their ongoing personal battle in the high jump.

They also share the world lead with 2.00m this year but will have Aussie Nicole McDermott, with a personal best 1.98m set in Germany last month, looking to spoil their chances.

Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi, who has cleared 2.30m this year, will be looking for a home country win in the men’s event, up against Ukrainian Andriey Protsenko, who has also registered 2.30m this year.

Italy also has a strong chance of victory in the men’s shot put with Leonardo Fabbri, who had a breakthrough moment at the Italian championships last month, throwing 21.99m to move to second on this year’s world list behind the rampant Olympic champion Ryan Crouser. American Nick Ponzio, who has thrown 21.72m this year will be his biggest rival.

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