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Duplantis flies over a meeting record of 6.06m at the ISTAF Indoor in Berlin

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  • Duplantis flies over a meeting record of 6.06m at the ISTAF Indoor in Berlin

Five years after his breakthrough title at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships with an unforgettable 6.05m clearance, Armand Duplantis thrilled another capacity crowd at the ISTAF Indoor in Berlin on Friday (10) night, a World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver meeting.  

Duplantis flew to a height of 6.06m on his first attempt - a clearance which not only surpassed his meeting record of 6.03m but also broke the ISTAF record of 6.05m, held by the great Sergey Bubka since 1994. 

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Two unsuccessful efforts at a world record height of 6.22m set up a dramatic third attempt, but it was not to be this time.

“My attempts at 6.22m felt good, I was closer than I was last week - that is the good thing. I would say it was more the distance than the height. But that is part of the game. For 6.22m you have to get everything really perfect. I have to be perfect and I felt really good today. But I was not perfect enough for that,” analysed Duplantis. 

Meanwhile Torben Blech, driven on by the carnival hit Stäänefleejer by Kasalla, took fourth place with the best German performance of the year at 5.73m.

Prescod and Neita improve to 6.49 and 7.05 respectively 

Britain's Reece Prescod briefly equalled the world lead for 60m, setting a meeting record and laying down the gauntlet ahead of the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul from 2-5 March.

The European 100m silver medallist from Berlin 2018 clocked a lifetime best of 6.49 (a mark which also stood as the equal world lead before Trayvon Bromell clocked 6.42 a few hours later) which also improved his own European-leading time.

He beat strong competition from the German duo of Joshua Hartmann, who clocked 6.53 to miss the German record by just 0.01, and Julian Wagner who clocked 6.56 to back up his 6.55 from the heats.

It makes them the three fastest men over 60m in Europe this year and with less than one month to go until Istanbul 2023, the top contenders are clearly rounding into top form. However, the sprinter to beat will be reigning champion Marcell Jacobs, who also won the world indoor title last year with a European record of 6.41.

Prescod said: “I have been training really hard. My coach and I have worked on new things. I have moved to Italy together with Jeremiah Azu to work with Marco Aiale.”

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In the women’s 60m, Britain’s Daryll Neita took on three of the German 4x100m relay European champions from Munich and did not disappoint, clocking a personal best of 7.05 in the final – just 0.01 behind compatriot Dina-Asher Smith’s British record set last month.

Tristan Evelyn of Barbados set a national record of 7.14 in second place with Germany’s European 100m champion Gina Lückenkemper third in a season’s best 7.16. There were also season’s bests for Germany’s Lisa Mayer and Alexandra Burghardt as well as Britain’s Asha Philip with 7.20, 7.22 and 7.25 for fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

Neita said: "I am so happy. But I knew when I was coming to this meet that I would run well because I have such good energy here. I love the ISTAF in the Olympic Stadium and the ISTAF INDOOR. I was really excited to come here and to execute the race like that, it is a massive PB. It is incredible!”

While Asher-Smith looks unlikely to compete at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Neita has confirmed the focal point of the continental indoor season is very much in her plans.

Tears and cheers in the 60m hurdles

In a race won by the world silver medallist Brittany Anderson from Jamaica in 7.85, the 60m hurdles saw Cypriot Natalia Christofi celebrate her 26th birthday by taking third in 8.01 seconds, the same time as Hungary’s Gréta Kerekes who set a new personal best.

There was also an emotional farewell and huge bear hug from Berlino the Bear for former European indoor and outdoor champion Cindy Roleder who competed in her final ISTAF event. Roleder, who was fifth in her heat in 8.30, plans to retire at the German Indoor Championships in Dortmund next week.

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After 38-year-old former European indoor champion Petr Svoboda's disqualification in the heats, Britain’s David King seized his opportunity to take the men’s 60m hurdles in 7.63, with Italy’s Paolo Dal Molin third in 7.69.

Mihambo wins Istanbul dress rehearsal while Craft sets world indoor discus best

The women’s long jump acted as a de facto dress rehearsal for Istanbul, featuring the top five athletes from Munich 2022. 

In the end, it was reigning Olympic and two-time world champion Malaika Mihambo who came out on top.

The home favourite, who set her indoor best of 7.07m at the same meeting in 2020, injured her knee on the third jump and had to see the physio before returning to delight the 11,000 spectators in the Mercedes-Benz Arena with a huge 6.81m in what was the final jump of the competition.

"Today's competition felt good, although I hurt my knee in the third attempt; I needed to get treated by physiotherapists and then find my focus again. I don't think I severely hurt my knee, I just need to get a little treatment and then it should be fine. I'm happy with 6.81m, although I would have wanted to jump further," said Mihambo.

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Italy’s Larissa Iapichino and Great Britain’s Jazmin Sawyers both jumped 6.69m, with the Italian taking second place on countback. Serbia’s Ivana Vuleta, who relieved Mihambo of her European outdoor title on home soil in Munich last year, was fourth with 6.66m.

The event finale featured a unique indoor discus duel between two teams of men and women. Led by Germany’s Shanice Craft, who broke the unofficial indoor discus world best and meeting record with 65.23m, the women were victorious against the men.

Olympic and European silver medallist Kristin Pudenz threw 62.34m, while Germany’s Rio Olympic bronze medallist Daniel Jasinksi’s final round effort of 62.81m was the best of the men.

Full results here.

Nick Howard for European Athletics

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