Cold and wet conditions played a major role on the second day of competition at the 36th edition of the Hypo Combined Events Meeting in Götzis.
Reigning Olympic and World indoor champion Bryan Clay claimed his second win in Götzis with 8483 points. Romain Barras from France produced a strong second day which was rewarded with a well-deserved second place with 8297 points ahead of World silver and Olympic bronze medallist Leonel Suarez from Cuba, third with 8286 points.
The Hypo Meeting is the second leg of the 2010 IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
Jessica Ennis produced the second best performance of her career with 6689 points to take the win in the Heptathlon. Ennis missed her PB by 42 points. She faced some problems on the second day in which she leapt to 6.13m in the Long Jump and threw 43.40m in the javelin in rainy conditions and saw her gap over Tatyana Chernova reduced to just 77 points after the Russian threw the javelin to 51.35m. But the Briton secured her first win in the Mosle Stadium thanks to her win in the 800m in 2:11.19.
Hardee out early, leaving Clay alone on day 2 - Decathlon
The major change was produced by Yordanis Garcia from Cuba who moved up to third place with 5235 points after taking the win in the 110m Hurdles in 14.02 (972 points). Clay did not run his best race but, although he did not match his recent 13.64 in the USA, he went to the lead with 5414 points thanks to his 14.08 (964 points) run. Overnight first placer Oleksiy Kasyanov from Ukraine clocked 14.38 (926 points) and finished the sixth event in second place with 5389 points, 25 points behind Clay. The top-six positions were rounded out by Andres Raja from Estonia, second fastest in the hurdles with 14.05 (5209 points), Cuban Suarez (5204 points) and overnight third placer Massimo Bertocchi from Canada (5198 points).
World champion Trey Hardee of the USA, fourth in the overnight ranking after five events, and five-time Götzis winner and World record holder Roman Sebrle from Czech Republic pulled out due to injury problems.
Rain fell during the Discus Throw. Clay won this event with 49.85m (867 points) in one of his strongest events and increased his lead on Kasyanov by 106 points (6281 to 6175 points). Kasyanov, who threw the discus to 45.95m, took second place with a gap of 158 points over Garcia who threw 46.20m and defended his third place by just ten points over Bertocchi (6027 to 6017 points). Maurice Smith from Jamaica, World silver medallist in Osaka 2007, threw 47.35m and went to fifth place with 5993 points ahead of Suarez (5948 points). Dimitry Karpov from Kazakhstan performed well in the discus finishing second behind Clay with 49.30m (856 points) and began his climb to the top positions from 17th after the hurdles to 10th after the discus.
Rain increased in intensity at the start of the Pole Vault which was held in difficult conditions. Garcia and Bertocchi made three fouls at the opening height of 4.40m, while Kasyanov also found the wet conditions very tricky and fouled three times at 4.50m. Clay survived a scare at his opening height of 4.50m which he vaulted only with third attempt. Then the US star vaulted 4.60m (790 points) at the first time of asking and fouled three times at 4.70. Decathletes had to fight against the tricky weather which changed many times during the vault.
Weather improved a bit when the bar was raised at 4.80 when the competition really reached its climax. Jake Arnold, winner in Desenzano three weeks ago, coped very well with the shifting conditions and vaulted 5.10m (941 points) on the second attempt to take the win on countback over local favourite Roland Schwarzl which elevated him in fifth overall, behind Clay who maintained a gap of 266 points over Arnold (7071 to 6805).
Arnold, who ran 14.12 in the hurdles and threw 46.51m in the discus, produced a remarkable climb from 12th after the discus to second after the vault. Barras also had a remarkable second day. The Frenchman, ninth after the hurdles (14.39) and eighth after the discus (42.53m) vaulted 5.00m to move into third. Karpov, the former Olympic bronze medallist and 2008 Götzis winner, moved into fourth after clearing 4.80m, just two points ahead of Schwarzl with 6722 points after eight events.
Clay finished second in the javelin with 66.19m (831 points) to increas his lead over Arnold to 325 points. Arnold meanwhile improved his PB to 62.28 to back up his second place position. Barras speared the javelin to 61.48m and maintained his third place with 7559 points with a gap of 34 points over Cuba’s Suarez who did not repeat his splendid throws over the 70 metres barrier but finished third with 65.38m. German Pascal Behrenbruch completed his catch-up thanks to a solid second day recovering from 24th place to 5th place with 7455 points after a 14.29 in the hurdles, 48.43m in the discus, 4.60m in the pole vault and 63.90m in the javelin.
Suarez won a gun-to tape 1500m race in 4:27.56 to clinch third place with 8266 points. Clay lagged behind in his weakest event but his first place was never under threat. Barras finished strongly in 4:31.07 to take second place with 8297 points. Jake Arnold scored a new PB of 8263 points to finish fourth beating Eelco Sitnicolaas from the Netherlands who also finished strongly (5.00m in the pole vault, 60.30m in the javelin and 4:28.41 in the 1500m) to take fifth place with a PB of 8159 points.
“It was really a tough competition. It’s the decathlon,” said Clay. “I tried the best I could. In the end I am happy that I could bring home the win. I made a lot of mistakes but probably made less mistakes than everyone else.
“The shot put, the 400 metres and the pole vault were terrible. I could have thrown further in the javelin in better conditions,” Clay added. After a brief break to visit his family, Clay will return to Europe to compete in Kladno, Czech Republic next month. “I am really look forward to competing at that meeting.”
Barras was a very happy second. “A second place in Götzis behind Clay is a dream. I did not expect the second place but a 8300 score. Today it was like hell. It was not a pleasure to compete in these conditions but thanks to the support of the crowd I found the energy to finish second.”
Ennis stays in the driver's seat - Heptathlon
Rainy conditions worsened during the Long Jump which opened the second day of the women’s heptathlon. This affected the results of many athletes who remained below their usual standards in the event.
World champion and overnight leader Jessica Ennis finished seventh in the Long Jump with a best leap of 6.13m (890 points) but defended her lead with a gap of 224 points over Olympic silver medallist Hyleas Fountain who finished third in this event with 6.30m (943 points). Ennis led with 5009 points over Fountain’s 4785 points.
Tatyana Chernova, who is known to be stronger on the second day, took the win with 6.52o (1014 points) and closed her gap over Fountain to just six points (4785 to 4779). Lyudmyla Yosypenko from Ukraine ranked fourth with 4611 points after 6.20m, ahead of Bettie Wade (4570 points) and world silver medallist Jennifer Oeser (4545 points). The German finished day one in tenth place after a disappointing shot put (11.40m) but moved up into sixth place thanks to her 6.40m leap. Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska lagged behind in seventh place after leaping to only 5.83m
Chernova won the Javelin Throw, her strongest event, with 51.35m (886 points) and closed dramatically her gap on Ennis who threw 43.40m (733 points) - before the final 800m Ennis had a margin of just 77 points over Chernova (5742 to 5665 points). Yosypenko speared the javelin to 48.69m (835 points) and went into third place with 5446 points. Oeser continued to play catch up moving from sixth into fourth with 5279 points after her 43.49m. Marina Goncharova from Russia, winner in Desenzano this year, finished second in the javelin with 50.68m and climbed into fifth place with 5243 points. Fountain pulled out of the competition before the javelin.
In the 800m, Chernova went to the front in the attempt to launch her attack on Ennis. The Russian started very strongly but Ennis managed to stay on her heels during the first lap. The effort took its toll on the Russian who was overtaken by Ennis with 200 metres to go. The 24-year-old Briton took the win in the two-lap event thanks to her strong finish in 2:11.19 (947 points).
Ennis totalled 6689 points, the second best performance in her career, 42 points off the 6731 tally which earned her World title in Berlin last summer. Chernova faded in the final straight and crossed the finish line in 2:13.97 (907 points). Yosypenko ran 2:20.89 but managed to defend her third place with 6260 points with a gap of just 67 points over Oeser who clocked 2:13.50.
“I was nervous before the start,” said Ennis. “Today the long jump and the javelin were a bit disappointing. The long jump was hard because it was very windy but given the difficult weather conditions, I was comfortable because I had a good margin before the 800 metres. This win is the best start to this season.”
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
Click here for results