Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov and local star Eliska Klucinova lead after day one of the 8th TNT Express meeting in the Czech town of Kladno, part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, on Saturday (14).
Kasyanov, a winner in Kladno four years ago, leads the way in the decathlon with 4210 points, 98 ahead of Brazil’s Felipe dos Santos and 123 in front of Norway’s Lars Vikan Rise, while Klucinova has 3829 points, a lead of 182 over Belarusian Katsiaryna Netsviatayeva.
Kasyanov started with solid 10.68 in the 100m, but winner of the event was talented dos Santos, who was faster by 0.09.
The Ukrainian then moved to the first place after a close long jump battle, where the top four were separated by only four centimetres. Kasyanov jumped 7.33m, two centimetres behind were his compatriot Vasyl Ivanytskyi and Estonia’s Kaarel Jöväli. Austria’s Felix-Schmid-Schutti finished fourth with 7.30m.
Kasyanov didn't look happy with his shot put result of 14.08m but he still managed to increase his lead by 65 points over the best Czech decathlete Adam Sebastian Helcelet.
Rise achieved the best result in the shot put as light rain started to fall with an impressive 16.05m, with the experienced Kazakh 2004 Olympic medallist Dmitriy Karpov reaching 15.99m.
Rise followed up his shot performance by also coming out on top in the high jump.
He improved his personal best by six centimetres to 2.06m and continued to move up overall while Kasyanov jumped 2.00m, the same height as Dos Santos.
The Brazilian and and Rise were within reach of Kasyanov before the last event of the day, but the Ukrainian managed to run the fastest 400m in the field with 48.84.
“I am not very satisfied, I was hoping for better results, especially in the long jump and shot put,” reflected Kasyanov.
Dos Santos, still 19 and the South American junior champion last year, has the chance to chase a personal best on Sunday and will be eyeing going over 8000 points for the first time.
Klucinova gets two personal bests
Klucinova, the Kladno winner in 2010 and 2012, clearly likes the venue a lot.
She started with a huge improvement in the 100m hurdles by 0.16, clocking a personal best of 13.81. Fastest in the field was, no surprise, USA’s Olympic long jump bronze medallist Janay Deoach Soukup with 13.40.
One of the pre-event favourites, Norway’s Ida Marcussen fell down before the last hurdle and could only finish in 19.22.
Klucinova added another personal best with 1.90m in the high jump and was a clear winner of this event. The next best heptathlete was Bianca Erwee from South Africa with 1.81m.
The high jump was also the last event for Deloach Soukup, who was making her heptathlon debut. She has a personal best 1.73m but couldn’t do better than 1.48m here and she withdrew from the competition ahead of the shot put.
Netsviatayeva, who has already competed in Firenze and Gotzis at previous events in this year’s IAAF Combined Events Challenge, moved up to second place overall after 13.91 in the 100m hurdles and 1.75m in the high jump, 165 points behind Klucinova.
After the shot, second-placed Netsviatayeva closed the gap between her and leader Klucinova to 151 points after producing a season’s best of 14.89m. Nevertheless, Klucinova reached 14.10m, only nine centimetres behind her personal best set in Moscow at last year’s IAAF World Championships.
The fastest in the last event of the day, the 200m, was Slovakia’s Lucia Mokrasova with 24.28, enough for her to move into third place overnight but Klucinova clocked 24.67, just 0.13 behind her personal best to end a good first day for the Czech athlete.
In all four day-one events, Klucinova did better than in Gotzis two weeks ago, where she scored 6195 for 12th place. “I knew I was in good shape but I didn’t want to say anything ahead of the competition in case something went wrong,” said the delighted Klucinova.
Watching proceedings from outside the track were three of the best decathletes ever.
Three-time world champion Tomas Dvorak was there in his role as Czech national coach and he was with the only two men ever to go over 9000 points, Roman Sebrle and current world record-holder Ashton Eaton.
Michal Osoba for the IAAF