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Bol opens season with victory, Duplantis close to world record

The Netherlands' Femke Bol (L) and <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/jamaica/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Jamaica;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Jamaica</a>'s Andrenette Knight (R) (Anders WIKLUND)
The Netherlands' Femke Bol (L) and Jamaica's Andrenette Knight (R) (Anders WIKLUND)

Femke Bol marked her outdoor debut ahead of the Paris Olympics with victory in the 400m hurdles while Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis went close to bettering his own pole vault world record at the Diamond League meet in Stockholm on Sunday.

The Dutch hurdler, who set a world record when winning the 400m flat in the world indoors in Glasgow in March, was pushed early on by Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton and Andrenette Knight, in a field featuring five athletes from the final at last year’s world champs in Budapest.

But she held her form to easily pull clear down the home stretch, although her time of 53.07 seconds was slightly off the world lead of 52.70sec set by American arch-rival Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone on Friday.

Duplantis made sure the vociferous home crowd had lots to cheer for in the men’s pole vault.

The US-born Swede wrapped up the competition with a winning height of 6.00m, but then had three very close attempts at 6.25m, 1cm higher than his own world record set at the Xiamen Diamond League six weeks ago.

Arguably, Algeria's Djamel Sedjati produced the performance of the meeting in the Swedish capital, the seventh on the 15-meet Diamond League circuit.

Sedjati, the 2022 world silver medallist, scorched to victory in the 800m in 1min 43.23sec, the fastest time of the season so far.

- Improved Jackson wins -

There was an improved showing in the 200m by Jamaica’s two-time world champion Shericka Jackson after a disappointing outing at the Oslo Diamond League meet on Thursday in which she finished fifth.

Jackson clocked a season’s best of 22.69m, but again looked slightly laboured.

Britain’s strength in depth in middle distance was again on show. Laura Muir claimed victory in the 1500m in 3:57.99 while teammate Jemma Reekie took the 800m in 1:57.79.

Muir, however, will not be part of the British team heading to the June 7-12 European championships in Rome, preferring instead to focus on the July 26-August 11 Paris Olympics.

"I have to bear in mind we are only at the end of May, start of June and it is all about August this year. That is when I need to be at my best," Muir said.

"I want to put everything I have into the Olympics. The champs would take too much out of training and I want to put all I can into the next two months of training as it is all about August this year."

Reekie will compete in the 1500m in Rome, but expects a tough battle to make the podium.

"I know that those 1500m girls are going to make it tough for me so it would be amazing to run away with a medal," she said.

Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh had a convincing victory in the women’s high jump, winning with a best of 2.00m, two jumps clear of a strong field.

In what was the Ukrainian’s outdoor opener, Mahuchikh said: "It is good for the start. I am looking forward to competing in Rome where I will defend my European title and I want to show a better result there.

"This was my first ever competition with my new run-up so I tried it but I need more practice and I am sure in Rome it will be better."

Alison Dos Santos made it three wins from three in the Diamond League with victory in the 400m hurdles in 47.02sec, fresh from having trumped Olympic champion and world record holder Karsten Warholm in Oslo.

"We have like whole group of athletes who are really doing well at the 400m hurdles,” said Dos Santos, who now returns to training camp in Florida before returning to do one more Diamond League meet before the Paris Games.

"I never get tired. Never ever. I am always ready."

American Chase Jackson followed the Brazilian’s footsteps, winning her third meet with a best of 20.00m in the women’s shot put.

Cameroon’s Emmanuel Eseme, in 10.16sec, beat American Kyree King and Italy’s Chituru Ali in a photofinish for victory in the 100m into a headwind.

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