03 MAY 2007 General News Desenzano del Garda, Italy

Ennis and Simpson set for 20th Multistars – IAAF World Combined Events Challenge

Margaret Simpson throwing the Javelin in the 2005 Multistars (Lorenzo Sampaolo)Margaret Simpson throwing the Javelin in the 2005 Multistars (Lorenzo Sampaolo) © Copyright

Britain’s fast emerging star Jessica Ennis, 21, last year’s Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, and Margaret Simpson from Ghana, the 2005 World bronze medallist are the headliners in the women’s Heptathlon line-up at the ‘Multistars’IAAF Combined Events Challenge - meeting in Desenzano del Garda. The meeting celebrates its 20th anniversary on 5 and 6 May 2007.

USA's Paul Terek leads the men's Decathlon entries.

Heptathlon

Ennis made her breakthrough season in 2006 when she won the Commonwealth Games bronze in Melbourne improving her PB from 5910 to 6269 points in a competition won by her compatriot Kelly Sotherton. Clearing an impressive 1.91m in the High Jump in Melbourne, Ennis, who is 2005 European Junior champion, finished eighth at the European Championships in Gothenburg setting a new lifetime best with 6287 points.

Ennis continued her progress during the 2007 indoor season when she came to the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham with a pentathlon PB of 4401 points. In front of enthusiastic home crowd which packed the National Indoor Arena, Ennis dramatically improved to 4716 points which earned her sixth place in one of the best ever pentathlon competitions. She ran the 60 metres Hurdles in 8.22 before equalling her High Jump best at 1.91m. Ennis also won the British indoor title in the event again clearing 1.91 during the 2007 winter.

The young Briton is a well-known name in the Multistars meeting where she scored her best result in the 2005 edition finishing fourth.

Another well-known face in Desenzano del Garda is Margaret Simpson from Ghana who took maternity leave last year. Simpson, who was Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in Manchester 2002 and then won the bronze medal at the World Championships in Helsinki, won two editions of the Multistars in 2003 and 2005. In 2005 Simpson had her best season which was highlighted by a national record of 6423 points in Götzis and then by a 6375 points bronze medal performance in Helsinki where she threw the javelin to a remarkable 56.23m in her favourite discipline.

Another past winner in the line-up will be France’s Marie Collonvillé who took the honours at the Multistars in 2004. She finished seventh at the Olympic Games in Athens and sixth at the World Championships in Helsinki, and set the inaugural World record in women’s Decathlon with 8150 points in Talence in 2004.

This weekend’s meeting will also feature last year’s World junior bronze medallist Yana Panteleeva from Russia who scored 5979 points in Beijing. Panteleyeva (PB 5985 points) also won the World Youth silver in Marrakesh in 2005.

Decathlon

The men’s Decathlon in Desenzano del Garda is a wide open contest.

The top names on show are the USA’s Paul Terek (PB 8312 points), Finland’s 2002 Multistars winner Jaakko Ojaniemi, who was fifth at the European Championships in Munich 2002 (PB 8192) and ninth at the World Championships in Helsinki 2005, and Vitaliy Smirnov (PB 8021 points) the 2003 Asian champion.

Terek, who returns to the italian meeting where he finished third in 2003 and fifth in 2005, is a good pole vaulter with a lifetime best of 5.50 and holds the meeting record in this event with a 5.42 clearance set in 2003.

The meeting looks set to continue its tradition in helping reveal new names this year. After helping launch the careers of stars like Roman Sebrle, Tomas Dvorak, Dimitry Karpov, Tia Hellebaut and Naide Gomes, the 2007 edition of the Multistars may be a springboard event for reigning World junior champion Arkadiy Vasilyev from Russia. Vasilyev set a 8059 PB last year when winning that World Junior crown in Beijing.

Desenzano could also be the chance for some specialists to approach the 8000 points barrier for the first time in their career. This target may be within the reach of former European junior silver medallist Lars Albert from Germany (PB 7920 points) and Frederic Xhonneux from Belgium (ninth at the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham).
 
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF

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