Margaret Simpson from Ghana, the 2005 World Heptathlon bronze medallist and 2002 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, leads the Heptathlon field when the IAAF World Combined Events Challenge continues this weekend (6-7) at the 12th Meeting International d'Arles.
Simpson had her best season in 2005 in which she set the national record of 6423 points in Götzis and then scored 6375 points in Helsinki where she threw the Javelin, her favourite event, a remarkable 56.23m.
Simpson, who took maternity leave to give birth to her first child in 2006, has already competed in two combined events meetings this year in her comeback season. She won the African Combined Events Championships in Mauritius in April with 5667 points and finished tenth in the Multistars meeting in Desenzano del Garda with 5825 points.
Simpson will face Marisa De Aniceto from France, the 2003 IAAF World Youth champion and Greek Aryro Strataki (ninth at the 2006 European Championships who set the national Heptathlon record in Götzis in 2006 with 6235 points.
Also in the field is Italian Pentathlon indoor record holder Francesca Doveri (4423 points in the 2009 winter and ninth at the European Indoor Championships), who performed well in Desenzano finishing sixth with her PB of 5885 points and three individual PBs (13.45 in the 100m Hurdles, 24.75 in the 200m and 6.20m Long Jump).
The men’s Decathlon features some of the best French combined events specialists.
The most prominent name is Franck Logel who finished seventh in the Heptathlon at the 2009 European Indoor Championships with 5926 points. Last year Logel finished third with 7947 points in windy conditions.
The other top French names are Rudy Bourgignon (seventh at the 2007 European Indoor Championships who has a Decathlon PB of 8025 points); Mattias Cerlati (PB 7912 points set in Tallin 2007), and Guillaume Barras (PB 7523 points set in Talence 2008), the younger brother of international Decathlon specialist Romain Barras who had to pull out of the Arles meeting this year.
The top foreign entry is Tunisia’s Hamdi Dhoubi (PB 8023 points), the African Decathlon champion in 2002 and third placer at those continental championships in 2006.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF