The Erdgas Mehrkampf Meeting this weekend (16-17) in Ratingen, the fourth leg of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, will act as a qualifying event for the German team for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu.
Heptathlon - Oeser’s final pre-Daegu tune-up as three other key names battle for two remaining spots
The Ratingen meeting near Düsseldorf will feature IAAF World silver medallist and European bronze medallist Jennifer Oeser. The German famously managed to win the world silver on home soil in Berlin with 6493 points despite a fall in the final 800m race. Last year Oeser won the European bronze medal in Barcelona adding 190 points to her previous PB for a final score of 6683 points.
Oeser, who has already secured her berth for Daegu thanks to her 6359 points score in Götzis, will be gunning for her third win in a row in Ratingen. She won in 2009 with 6442 points and in 2010 with 6427. In the last edition of the Ratingen meeting she beat her compatriot Lilli Schwarzkopf who scored 6388.
Schwarzkopf, European bronze medallist in 2006, did not finish her competition in Götzis and Ratingen will be her final chance to score the 6150 points qualifying standard for Daegu set by the German Federation. Schwarzkopf will fight against Julia Mächtig (PB 6320) and Marian Schwerdtner (PB 6167) for the remaining two spots on the German team for Daegu.
The top invited Heptathlon specialists in Ratingen will be Briton Loiuse Hazel, who improved her PB to 6156 points in New Delhi last October when she won the Commonwealth Games title; Aiga Grabuste from Latvia, the reigning European Under 23 champion from Kaunas 2009 with her lifetime best of 6396; and Dutchwoman Ramona Fransen, the surprise European indoor bronze medallist in Paris 2011 with her PB of 4665 points (with an impressive 1.92m in the High Jump in the process).
Decathlon - all three men's spots on the line
In the Decathlon the focus will be on the German fight to qualify for Daegu. The most interesting name who emerged from the traditionally strong German team is Rico Freimuth who came to the spotlight last May in Götzis when he scored 8158 points following in the footsteps of his father Uwe who won in Götzis in 1985 and 1988. “I am proud of my first ever 8000 points decathlon,” said the younger Freimuth, who won the European junior bronze medal in Hengelo 2007 with 7524 points.
Rico Freimuth is faster than his father in the sprint events (10.79 in the 100m and 13.96 in the 110m Hurdles) but he is behind in the throws and jumps. The elder Freimuth has a PB of 8792 points, set in 1984, before his son’s birth. Rico Freimuth came very close to the 8200 points standard for Daegu in Götzis with his 8158 points score but he showed great potential by improving his previous PB by 332 points thanks to seven individual PBs.
The other top contender for the three spots on the German team will be Berlin World Championships sixth placer Pascal Berenbruch who scored his lifetime best of 8469 in the German capital two years ago, and tallied 8067 this year in Götzis. Additionally former World indoor champion André Nicklaus (PB 8371 points) will make his comeback after years ruined by injuries.
Among the top foreign Decathlon specialists will be former World junior and European Under 23 silver medallist Aleksey Sisoyev from Russia (PB 8497 points); former African Championships silver medallist Willelm Coertzen from South Africa (PB 8146 points set at the World Championships in Berlin); Brazil’s Carlos Chinin (PB 8068 points set in Kladno last June); and Laarbi Bouraada from Algeria (PB 8171 points).
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF