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SPORTS UPDATE

No complacency as Duplantis continues to create history

The danger with an athlete as great, as gifted, as astonishingly accomplished as Mondo Duplantis is that we could easily become complacent about his class.

Such is the ruthless, clinical efficiency with which the 22-year-old has taken apart the pole vault record books in recent years, it’s become almost routine, expected, for him to dominate, his greatness by now almost a given among fans.

But it’s worth remembering – every time he does what he did on the final day of the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 – that this is no ordinary champion. These are no ordinary achievements.

With his clearance of 6.20m** at the Stark Arena on Sunday night (20), the Swedish vaulter set his second world record in the Serbian capital in the space of just 13 days.

“I feel like Belgrade is going to be a special place in my heart forever,” he said.

When searching for context about his achievements, the obvious starting point is with Sergey Bubka, who broke the outdoor pole vault world record 17 times during his career, the indoor world record 18 times – his 6.14m mark lasting 20 years before Renaud Lavillenie improved it in 2014.

While Duplantis has some distance left to go to rack up the same number of titles as Bubka – who won one Olympic gold, six world outdoor titles and four world indoor titles – the Swedish star looks well on his way.

He has studied the history of his event, which is the first step towards rewriting it.

“I know how much Bubka has pushed this sport to where it is today,” said Duplantis on Sunday. “I want to do something similar to what he has done, because we’re a lot more capable than we think we are. When you push the limits, you realise how possible the next (level) is.”

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