A hamstring injury had sidelined Armand Duplantis since Lievin a fortnight ago but the world record-holder made an excellent return to competition at the Serbian Open Indoor Meeting in Belgrade, a World Athletics Indoor Tour Bronze meeting, on Wednesday (24).
Not only did Duplantis extend his winning streak to 20 competitions and counting in the Serbian capital, the Swede looks to be nearing world record shape on the eve of the Torun 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships - the venue where Duplantis broke the record for the first time last February.
Duplantis required an unscheduled second attempt at his opening height of 5.60m but the European champion soon found his rhythm on the runway with a first-time clearance at 5.80m to win the competition before going clear at 6.00m and then soaring over a world lead of 6.10m - a height that has only been surpassed by Sergey Bubka, Renaud Lavillenie as well as Duplantis himself.
Duplantis, who had previously held the world lead with 6.03m in Rouen, had two attempts at a world record of 6.19m - neither of which were close at displacing his 6.18m clearance from Glasgow from the record books - before eschewing his final attempt at the height.
"I didn't know that no one jumped six meters in Belgrade. I am glad to set the meeting record. It was fun, but I am sorry I didn’t set the new world record," said Duplantis.
Duplantis has opted to miss the All Star Perche in Clermont-Ferrand this weekend which means the next time we will see him in action will be in the qualifying round of the European Indoor Championships in Torun on 6 March.
Home favourite Ivana Spanovic is seeking a record fourth successive European indoor long jump title in Torun and the Serbian warmed up for her title defence by winning on home soil with 6.71m ahead of 2016 European silver medallist Jazmin Sawyers with 6.50m.
"This was a unique competition because it took place seven days before a big one. I competed without my coach and that hindered my performance. All in all, it is always nice to compete on the home soil," said Spanovic who set her outright lifetime best of 7.24m in Belgrade albeit at a different venue at the 2017 European Indoor Championshiops.
Other highlights included former world and European U20 champion Morgan Lake from Great Britain clearing 1.96m in the high jump and Serbia’s Armin Sinancevic winning the shot put with 21.25m.
Full results here.