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Mahuchikh, Kipyegon set world records, but Mayer falls

Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh reacts after beating the world record in the women's high jump (Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT)
Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh reacts after beating the world record in the women's high jump (Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT)

Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Kenyan Faith Kipyegon hit world record-breaking form at Sunday's Diamond League meet in Paris in the perfect boost before the Olympics kick off in three weeks' time in the French capital.

Mahuchikh broke the 37-year-old women's high jump world record, while Kipyegon improved her own record in the women's 1500m, two results that will make them two of the stars to watch in Paris.

World champion Mahuchikh set a new best of 2.10 metres, beating by 1cm the record set by Bulgaria's Stefka Kostadinova at the 1987 world championships in Rome.

"Coming into this competition, I had feelings that I could jump 2.07m and maybe 2.10m," said Mahuchikh.

"Finally, I signed Ukraine into the history of world athletics."

In the 1500, led out by two pacemakers, two-time defending Olympic champion Kipyegon broke to the front and clocked 3min 49.04sec in a superb display of running. It improved by 0.07sec her previous best set in Florence in June 2023.

"Wow this is just amazing! I am so happy to break the world record over my favourite distance again," said Kipyegon.

"I can't wait to come back to Paris to defend my Olympic title!"

Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis went close in a bid to better his own pole vault world record in an afternoon of top-class track and field that featured a stunning men's 800m, while French decathlete Kevin Mayer took a worrying tumble in the 110m hurdles.

There was a distinctly Olympic tinge to proceedings at a packed Stade Charlety in southern Paris.

The stadium was awash with tricolour flags, Olympic mascots and a lot of blue after organisers asked fans to come dressed in the colour to support home athletes.

It did not work for decathlon world record holder Mayer, who tumbled to the ground in the hurdles, the third event of a triathlon also including the shot put and long jump.

Mayer received medical attention before being helped off the track.

In better news for the hosts, Sasha Zhoya equalled his personal best of 13.15sec to win the 110m hurdles in a photo finish from American Trey Cunningham.

- Sedjati on fire -

The two world records notwithstanding, the stand-out race was the men's 800m.

Algeria's world silver medallist Djamel Sedjati edged in-form Kenyan teenager Emmanuel Wanyonyi by two-hundredths of a second to win a thriller in 1min 41.56sec.

France's European champion Gabriel Tual claimed third in a national record of 1:41.61 as all top eight finishers set personal bests.

The podium's times were the third, fourth and fifth fastest ever run. Only world record holder David Rudisha and Wilson Kipketer have gone faster. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has now been pushed down into sixth place on the all-time list.

Polish pace setter Patryk Sieradzki responded perfectly when Wanyonyi surged to the front of the pack, accelerating away to take the field through 400m in a blistering 48.79sec.

All eyes were on Wanyonyi, who had won the Kenyan trials in 1:41.70, but Sedjati and Tual stuck with the Kenyan coming into the home straight, the Algerian producing one final surge to claim a thrilling victory.

"I am confident and will prepare serenely for the Olympic Games in Paris in the coming weeks. I know that I can do even better there," said Sedjati.

While Mahuchikh and Kipyegon set new world records, Duplantis went close to breaking his own in the pole vault.

Duplantis came in at 5.65m and passed at 5.75, France's 2012 Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie -- who has failed to get the qualifying mark for this month's Olympics -- making an early exit from the competition.

The US-born Swede then sailed over both 5.85 and 5.95m.

American Sam Kendricks bailed out at the 6.00m mark, but Duplantis went clear and the bar was raised to 6.25m, 1cm higher the world record. It proved to be too high.

"I felt really good, managed some really good jumps," said Duplantis.

"There was a lot of height out there and that gives me a lot of confidence. I look forward to the next one.

"I think the Olympics is going to be amazing because the energy has already been amazing in this run up to the Games."

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