Ratingen, GermanyWorld silver and European bronze medallist Jennifer Oeser from Germany ended the first day of the Erdgas Mehrkampf meeting in Ratingen (16), the German leg of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, as Heptathlon leader with very solid performances in the first four events highlighted by 13.14 in the 100 metres Hurdles and a new PB in the 200 metres of 23.94. Oeser carries a lead over 2009 European U23 champion Aiga Grabuste from Latvia into tomorrow’s second day.
In the men’s Decathlon, Laarbi Bouraada from Algeria performed brilliantly winning three events (Long Jump with 7.94m, High Jump with 2.06m and 400 metres with 48.19) to cap the first day in overnight leading position with 4409 points ahead of German Rico Freimuth (4228 points).
German Rico Freimuth, the son of former decathlon star Uwe Freimuth, got off to a Flying start by clocking 10.50 (975 points) in the 100 metres aided by a strong tailwind of +3.0 m/s. Jangy Abby from Liberia finished second clocking 10.60 (952 points) closely followed by Laarbi Bouraada (10.61).
Bouraada leapt to an impressive 7.94 (backed up by a second best jump to 7.81) in the Long Jump aided again by a tailwind of +2.7 m/s (1045 points) setting an event meeting record and took the overall lead with 1994 points over German Simon Hechler (7.77 with tailwind of +3.2 m/s) and Freimuth who jumped 7.42 (+2.2 m/s).
In the Shot Put, Bouraada lost valuable points following his best release to 12.82 and Freimuth narrowed his gap to just five points in the overall ranking (2650 to 2645 points) thanks to his release to 14.44. German Pascal Berenbruch won with 16.02 and moved up into fourth place with 2608 points, eight points behind Hechler.
The High Jump developed into a three-men battle between Bouraada, South African Willem Coertzen and German Steffan Fricke. Bouraada was the only decathlete to master 2.06 (859 points) successfully and increase his overall lead with 3509 points ahead of Coertzen whose 2.03 climbed him into second place with 3367 points. With only the 400 metres to be contested, Pascal Behrenbruch jumped 1.94 and took third overall place with 3357 points, while Rico Freimuth lost positions fading into fourth place with 3341 points following his 1.88 clearance.
Despite the cool weather Bouraada clocked a solid 48.19 in the 400 metres to take his third individual win of the day after the long jump and the high jump. Freimuth, who narrowly missed the Daegu qualifying standard in Götzis where he totalled 8158 points, produced a fast 400 metres race clocking 48.86 to move up into second place with 4228 points after five events.
Freimuth and Behrenbruch (fourth with 4179 points) are on course to set the 8200 points qualifying standard for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu.
The strong but legal tailwind (+1.2 m/s) also aided the 100 metres Hurdles where Jennifer Oeser cruised to an impressive 13.14 which is 0.23 sec. faster than her PB. Lilli Schwarzkopf, who is making her comeback this year, also ran very fast setting her PB with 13.32 beating 2010 Commonwealth champion Louise Hazel from Great Britain by 0.04.
Oeser mastered windy conditions at the start of the High Jump by clearing all heights until 1.77m in the first attempt, while Schwarzkopf could not jump higher than 1.74. Wind caused problems to Oeser who needed three attempts to clear 1.80. “Wind was very tricky because it blew strongly from all directions but the height of 1.80 is ok”, said Oeser.
Dutch Ramona Fransen, European Indoor Pentathlon bronze medallist in Paris Bercy last March, cleared 1.86 (1054 points), a new seasonal best (but not overall PB because she cleared 1.92 indoors when she took third place in the French capital). Thanks to her solid performance Fransen climbed into second overall place with 2055 points behind Oeser’s 2081 points.
Oeser had no problems in the Shot Put (her weak event) where she produced a best release of 13.85 and held a overall lead of 54 points over Aiga Grabuste from Latvia in the overall ranking (2865 to 2811 points). Sweden’s Jessica Samuelson won with 14.71 m (841 points) ahead of German Julia Machtig (14.66)
Rain started falling during the afternoon and temperatures were cooler than in the morning but this did not prevent Hazel from setting the meeting record of 23.90 in the 200 metres and Jennifer Oeser from clocking a new PB of 23.94. Oeser increased her overall lead over Grabuste to 93 points (3851 to 3758 points).
Oeser, who has already secured her berth in Daegu, is on course to a 6400 points score. Lilli Schwarzkopf ended the first day with 3702 points and is on course to score the Daegu qualifying standard of 6150 points.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
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