Seven years after winning her first major title with European gold in Zurich, Anzhelika Sidorova achieved another significant milestone in her career in the very same stadium at the Zurich Diamond League final on Thursday (9).
Sidorova joined the exclusive five metre-club in the pole vault after soaring over 5.01m on her third attempt to become only the fourth woman in history to scale this barrier after her Russian compatriot and world record-holder Yelena Isinbayeva along with Sandi Morris and Jenn Suhr from the United States.
Sidorova was in exceptional form throughout the competition, clearing each height from 4.57m to 4.96m - the latter her first lifetime best of the competition and also a world lead - on her first attempt.
Even though Sidorova had already won the contest from Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi at 4.91m, Sidorova elected to vault on after clearing 4.96m. And she was richly rewarded. After two close attempts at the hitherto unconquered five metre-barrier, Sidorova succeeded at 5.01m on her third attempt - the highest vault outdoors by a woman by more than a decade.
“I think this is really the right place to jump high. But coming to the stadium, I did not feel like it was coming today. I think we are all a bit tired already after a long season and in the warm up I did not feel 100 percent ready for a jump over 5.00m,” admitted Sidorova.
“I just wanted to do some jumps and did not think of a perfect technique and perfect conditions. I still cannot believe I got the 5 m barrier today. I really like jumping here because I have become a European champion here and also jumped here many times after, and now I am coming home with my first Diamond League Trophy.”
In a repeat of the finishing order at the 2014 European Athletics Championships, Stefanidi finished second to Sidorova again with 4.77m. Meanwhile, Olympic champion Katie Nageotte no-heighted at 4.57m.
Armand Duplantis was in similarly precocious form in the men’s pole vault as he broke the meeting record twice to seal the Diamond League trophy.
Duplantis cleared 5.98m on his second attempt to revise the meeting record before producing the first ever six metre-plus jump inside the Letzigrund with a first-time clearance at 6.06m. This was also significant from a personal standpoint as it marked the 25th six metre-plus vault of Duplantis’ career.
Duplantis has spoken optimistically about revising his world record of 6.18m in recent weeks but the Olympic and European champion will have to wait until next season to embellish his mark after three unsuccessful attempts at 6.19m.
“The main goal today was just to win that Diamond as I have not done it yet. And I am really happy with the way that I jumped. I had some really good jumps. I would have loved to break the record and I really felt like I had it in me this season so I think I am going to look back at the season and I am not going to have too many complaints.
“The 6.06m jump felt good. I was so focused that I did not remember much but it gave me the confidence to take a shot at the next one. Anytime I am able to jump 6m, I cannot complain,” said Duplantis.
Sam Kendricks and Timur Morgunov both cleared season’s bests of 5.93m to finish second and third respectively on countback.
The ebullient Gianmarco Tamberi enthralled a near-capacity crowd in the high jump. His final party trick was to place the Diamond League Trophy next to the high jump bed prior to his second attempt at 2.34m. When he duly cleared it to rapturous applause, Tamberi brandished the trophy before going to his bag to retrieve his Olympic gold medal. Suitably attired, Tamberi celebrated with a crowd who he had kept entertained all evening.
“It was an amazing night. The last 20 days I was everywhere - the sponsors, the television, doing many things and I was really scared that I could be very tired for the competition today. But I really wanted to win the diamond because I have never done it,” said Tamberi.
Fellow Olympic champion Karsten Warholm further extended his win streak in the 400m hurdles. The Norwegian, who hasn’t been beaten in his specialist event in more than three years now, won in his trademark gun-to-tape fashion in 47.35 by almost half-a-second from Olympic bronze medallist Alison dos Santos in 47.81.
Pedro Pablo Pichardo and Daniel Stahl also followed up their Olympic triumphs with victories in the Diamond League final. Already assured of the victory Pichardo improved to 17.70m in the last round of the triple jump while Stahl won the discus with his first round throw of 66.49m.
Full results here.