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Duplantis, Baker show top form in Stockholm ahead of Olympics

Stockholm hosts a star-studded Wanda Diamond League competition with the cream of the crop of track and field athletes compete for points, records and world ranking.

Sweden's Armand Duplantis competes in the men's final pole vault event during the Diamond League Track and Field meeting in Stockholm, on July 4, 2021.
Sweden’s Armand Duplantis competes in the men’s final pole vault event during the Diamond League Track and Field meeting in Stockholm, on July 4, 2021. (AFP)

American Ronnie Baker has won a tight 100 metres race at the Stockholm Diamond League meeting and heads to his first Olympics in Tokyo as a leading medal contender.

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Baker, 27, clocked 10.03 seconds on Sunday, edging out Italian Marcell Jacobs by 0.02 seconds with Britain’s CJ Ujah third in 10.10.

“I’m pleased to be able to run and compete and beat these guys,” Baker told reporters. “There’s a lot of guys running fast and some of the top guys are coming out of America but ultimately I try not to focus on my competition and focus on what I’m doing.”

World record holder Armand Duplantis did not disappoint his home fans as the Swede won the pole vault with a leap of 6.02 metres.

He finished ahead of American Sam Kendricks who managed a season’s best 5.92m and France’s Renaud Lavillenie who also cleared 5.92.

“It was really important for me to just kind of go out here and try to get over six metres, and then maybe take a few better shots at the world record, but overall 6.02 was a nice jump so I can’t complain,” Duplantis said.

“Stockholm is a special place for me, I have had some quite great results here in the past few years, so it’s like every time I come here, something good happens.”

With the Tokyo Olympics due to begin in a little over three weeks, world long jump champion Tajay Gayle of Jamaica produced a season’s best leap of 8.55 metres to win.

“I’m surprised I jumped that far because my feet have not really been responding and I was tired after the golden meet in Brussels. But I’m very, very, pleased and very happy with the result,” he said.

Cuban Juan Miguel Echevarria came second with 8.29 metres and Sweden’s Thobias Montler third with 8.23.

Kenya’s Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich produced a season’s best performance in the 800 metres, coming from behind to win in 1:43:84.

Canada’s Marco Arop was second in 1:44:00 and Elliot Giles of Britain third in 1:44:05.

Former world champion Hyvin Kiyeng of Kenya dominated the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, winning in a time of 9:04.34 ahead of her compatriot and world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech who could only finish third. Germany’s Gesa Felicitas Krause was second.

“I feel good and to get through a race is good on the way to the Olympics,” Kiyeng said.

Kenya’s Timo thy Cheruiyot, the 1,500 metres world champion, won comfortably in a time of 3:32.30 in his first race since failing to qualify for Tokyo.

New Zealand’s Valerie Adams, twice Olympic champion, won the women’s shot put with a throw of 19.26 metres.

“This was my first Diamond League since 2018, and since 2018 I’ve had two kids so I’m very happy,” she said.

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