This is the third edition of the 2023 column, Deji’s Doodles. Deji Ogeyingbo writes this column on Monday nights, and we post the column on Tuesdays. Deji writes about the athletic news of the week.
What next for Mondo Duplantis, Fred Kerley looks like he didn’t take a break and Grant Holloway is still unbeatable
Lucky us! We were treated to another big week across the athletics world as Mondo Duplantis continue to do the unthinkable in the Pole Vault, Grant Holloway showed once again he can’t be beaten, while Fred Kerley is reminding us about the whole essence of the sport.
Mondo Duplantis keeps flying, how much higher can he go?
What do you do with a physical specimen like Mondo Duplantis? The world of sport has seen dominance in all aspects of track and field, but what Duplantis is doing in the men’s Pole vault is just borderline ridiculous. At the All-Star Perche, a World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver meeting in Clermont-Ferrand, the Swede cleared 6.22m to add one centimeter to his own world pole vault record.
Mondo Duplantis goes 6.06m at ISTAF Berlin, photo by ISTAF Berlin Indoor
Two things stand out here: First is the margin of victory of Duplantis. He has made the men’s Pole Vault a walk in the park and even his opponent seems to be in awe of his ever-increasing prowess. Australia’s Commonwealth Games champion Kurtis Marschall finished second in Clermont-Ferrand, clearing an outright PB of 5.91m, and Menno Vloon of the Netherlands finished third, also with 5.91m.
They didn’t come close to matching six meters, and it just shows how far apart they are in catching up.
More important is the amount of world records he has broken in his career. It stands at a staggering six since he turned professional, and to be honest, you can put your money that he will increase that number in his career.
Mondo Duplantis sets WR of 6.21 meters, World Athletics Championships
Eugene, Oregon, USA
July15-26, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris
Duplantis has now achieved a total of 60 six-meter-plus clearances in his career so far. He set the first of his world records in Torun in February 2020, when he cleared 6.17m to improve on Lavillenie’s previous world record of 6.16m which had stood since 2014. Even the almighty Sergey Bubka who transcended the Pole Vault in the eighties and nighties will be proud of this boy.
Fred Kerley is enjoying himself after winning in Melbourne
Very few people can claim to have the sort of career World 100m champion Fred Kerley has. His transition from the 400m to becoming a champion in the 100m had never been done before in the history of the sport. Even the great Usain Bolt never achieved sort. Kerley’s range over the sprints stands him out, and it is with that stead that fans of the sport are always keen to watch him race.
Fred Kerley in Melbourne, photo by Maurie Plant Meeting 2023/ContinentalWorldTour
The city of Melbourne had the honor of watching him race and he duly delivered a performance for the ages over the 200m. It was more style than substance for the American as he raised his right arm in celebration with about 30m to go in the race.
At some point, we have to allow athletes and fans to have a connection, and because of how competitive Track is-especially the sprints, there is very little flair allowed to be displayed in the sport. It was the reason Bolt was loved. He allowed himself to enjoy the sport whenever he could, something that endeared him to the fans.
Fred Kerley takes 200m win at #MauriePlantmeeting, photos courtesy of MauriePlantMeeting23/ContinentalTourGold
Kerley is at this point. Surely there wouldn’t be many opportunities for him to celebrate when he wins races, but this win is a big indicator that he knows when to take his foot off the gas even in a competitive race.
Grant Holloway is in a world of his own, we are just living in it
At the final of the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold series in Birmingham, Grant Holloway once again proved why he is an unstoppable force over the men’s 60m Hurdles. The two-time world 110m hurdles champion broke the men’s 60m meeting record with 7.35s as he maintained his winning streak that stretches to 2014 indoors.
Grant Holloway, Feb. 25, 2023, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
Like Duplantis, it seems his opponents have given up any hope of catching him and this here wasn’t entirely different. His US compatriot has been having a fine indoor season and was tipped to usurp Holloway in Birmingham but he too came up short when it matters most.
Grant Holloway takes the win in 7.35 at Birmingham WIT Final, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
Eventually, Holloway’s streak will be broken as the hurdles leave so many variables to being able to make mistakes. But that’s the thing, he’s so good over these five hurdles that you can only magnify his strengths, especially his blistering start.
Men’s NCAA 60m indoor at nationals will be lit
Terrance Jones, Favour Ashe, and Ismael Kone. By virtue of their various regional wins and impeccable times, these are the overwhelming favorites to win the NCAA indoor championships 60m indoor title in less than two months.
Favour Ashe, 2022 African Athletics Championships, photo by Deji Ogeyingbo
Jones leads the pack with his 6.48s clocking at the Big 12 Championships. The sophomore at Texas Tech, took advantage of their surface in the Sports Performance Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas to easily win the men’s 60m to erase the meet record of 6.51 that was previously set by Ronnie Baker of TCU in 2016. In adding his name to the facility record of 6.45 that he established last year, Jones, a native of Grand Bahama, led a clean sweep for Texas Tech in the top four spots.
Ashe on his path picked up from where he left off last year as he blazed to a time of 6.52s. The Sophomore transfer from Tennessee to Auburn ran the second fastest 60m time in Auburn school history en route to winning gold at the Southeastern Conference indoor title Saturday. Ashe became the eighth man ever at Auburn to win the fastest event at the conference meet and the first since Dante Brown in 2021. He also has his eyes fixed on breaking the Nigerian record of 6.48 which is held by his former coach, Deji Aliu.
For Kone, he will surely be the spoiler. He once held the world lead in early January and over the weekend, he won with 6.56 at the ACC Indoor Track & Field Championships. We’ve had some great races over the years in the NCAA, but this promises to be a fever pitch.