'Up in the clouds' Duplantis eclipses Bubka with outdoor pole vault world record

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Khalifa International Stadium for the IAAF World Athletics Championships.
Khalifa International Stadium for the IAAF World Athletics Championships.
Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

Sweden's Armand Duplantis eclipsed Ukrainian legend Sergey Bubka's 26-year mark, setting a outdoor new pole vault world record of 6.15m at the Diamond League meeting in Rome on Thursday.

Duplantis who already holds the world indoor record of 6.18m, bettered the mark of 6.14m achieved by Bubka in July 1994 in Italy.

The 20-year-old succeeded on his second attempt at the end of a competition he dominated in perfect warm and windless conditions in the Italian capital.

"I think I'm still up in the clouds right now," said the US-born athlete.

"You feel like you're dreaming a bit. It's a surreal, super crazy feeling. You hit the mat but you're still up in the clouds."

Duplantis set the world record indoors in February, and had made the outdoor mark his goal with the Olympic Games and European championships postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It was something I really wanted to do, there was a lot of confusion between the indoor and outdoor," said Duplantis.

"I thought 'why not just do it?' be the best outdoor, to clear up the confusion."

It was his 15th attempt at the height in total and he chose the Italian capital because he knew the conditions at the Stadio Olimpico would permit a record.

He also watched videos of Bubka in action for motivation.

"I had never jumped here in Rome before, there have been a lot of great performances, that was one of the reasons i came here.

"It's an historic stadium and I knew if the weather permits I could jump high."

Duplantis had cleared an earlier attempt but hit the bar on the way down.

"It was something that was kind of bugging me to get over.

"It was a kind of mental thing. I hit it on the way down.

"After that first attempt I knew what I had to do it so just went out and did it," said Duplantis who heads for the Diamond League meet in Doha next week.

The European champion's ambition are now to win world and Olympic titles.

"There are a lot of medals for me to win," added the world silver medallist.

"I like to think of myself as a big time performer, to go out there and do it when it counts."

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