Duplantis honing in on Tokyo, Ingebrigtsen out of Oslo

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·3-min read
Armand Duplantis of Sweden
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Sweden's world pole vault record holder Armand Duplantis is using his final two track and field meets to hone in on his first Olympics in Tokyo, but Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen was a late withdrawal from Thursday's Diamond League in Oslo.

Ingebrigtsen, due to race the mile at the famed Bislett stadium, awoke with a sore throat, forcing the 20-year-old track prodigy to pull out, according to his father and coach Gjert.

There was no such drama for Duplantis, however, the US-based vaulter saying he was "feeling good".

"It's getting to where I want it to be," said Duplantis, who in 2020 set a sensational world record of 6.18m indoors before vaulting 6.15m outdoors, finally eclipsing the 1994 mark set by all-time great Sergey Bubka.

"I'm starting to feel, getting the rhythm."

Duplantis, 21, added: "I've got two competitions left, here and in Stockholm (on Sunday), and then we have the Olympics.

"The Olympics is the most important meet for us, so I'm really trying to figure out everything in these next couple of meets.

"We're going to have good conditions tomorrow it seems, I've spent enough time in Scandinavia to know that if you have good conditions, take advantage of that because you don't get it all that often!"

The pole vault competition in Oslo has a distinctly Olympic final feel to it, with Duplantis up against American Sam Kendricks and France's Renaud Lavillenie.

"Seeing him jumping with us now... putting everything on fire, he has shown that 6m is no longer a barrier. It's something just crazy," Lavillenie, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist who won silver in Rio four years later, said of the Swede known as "Mondo".

- 'Really let loose' -

Kendricks, the defending two-time world champion and bronze medallist in Rio, added he had "never been blessed to be ranked number one in an Olympic year, I always seem to be ranked number two!"

"In 2016 Renaud was the shining star coming off world record in 2014 and now it seems to be Mondo coming off his world records last year and this year," he said.

"The amazing thing about the Olympics is as an American, once you make your way past the trials, it almost takes the weight off your shoulders and honestly being number two in some regards takes yet another layer off.

"I have nothing to hold me back and I get to really let loose."

While Ingebrigtsen sits Oslo out, home fans will be able to cheer for his teammate Karsten Warholm, who is pitched against in-form American Rai Benjamin in the 400m hurdles.

Warholm, the world and European champion, said it was time to show his rivals how his pre-season had worked out, notably after Benjamin ran a stunning 46.83sec to win the US trials -- only world record-holder Kevin Young, whose mark of 46.78sec has stood since 1992, has ever run faster.

"I feel very prepared and inspired and motivated," said Warholm, whose fastest time over the hurdles is 46.87sec, set in Stockholm last year.

"Your competitors are the ones pushing you to bigger things," the Norwegian said.

"If it was only me running quick times I wouldn't need to push it any further. But with people there running fast times, I need to take a step up as well and try to do well.

"This is about the work you do before the season, you can see now that Rai has been working well, now it's up to see whether I have done mine and I think I have."

lp/iwd

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