Jessica Ennis close to PB pace after first day in Gotzis (Lorenzo Sampaolo) © Copyright
Kasyanov ended a very solid first day with 4463 points with a close gap of 13 points over Olympic and World indoor champion Bryan Clay. Kasyanov performed brilliantly in the Long Jump where he came close to the 8 metres barrier with 7.97m. Ennis showed consistency once again by topping the overnight heptathlon leading board with 4119 points with a margin of 277 points over Olympic silver medallist Hyleas Fountain. Ennis’ highlights were a new Shot Put PB of 14.25m, a 1.91m clearance in the High Jump and a 12.89 clocking in the 100m Hurdles.
The Decathlon started promisingly with a big tussle between Clay and World champion Trey Hardee in the 100m. Clay improved the event’s meeting record held by compatriot Chris Huffins by 0.04 seconds to an impressive 10.35 (1011 points) edging out Hardee who clocked 10.39 (1001 points). Young Cuban Yordanis Garcia, former IAAF World Youth champion, clocked a solid 10.61 for third place beating Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov by 0.02 seconds.
Clay had a difficult start in the Long Jump producing 6.55m and 7.13m in the first two attempts before leaping to 7.51m in the third round, better than the 7.39m when he set his decathlon PB of 8832. Clay was 50 points ahead of his PB schedule but lost his overall lead to Kasyanov who produced a massive 7.97m (1053 points), his second best overall performance behind a 8.04m PB set during the 2010 indoor season. Kasyanov went to the lead after the first two events with 1998 points ahead of Hardee who jumped 7.62m for 1966 points. Clay was in third place with 1948.
Kasyanov defended his overall lead with 2788 points after the Shot Put where he produced a put to 15.01m. Clay took second place with 2761 points after his 15.38m effort. Hardee put 13.46m and followed in third place, 100 points behind Clay. Maurice Smith from Jamaica, the World silver medallist in Osaka, won his favourite event with 16.86m (904 points) after 10.81 in the 100m and 7.15m in the Long Jump and moved up to fourth place with 2657 points. Massimo Bertocchi from Canada and Roman Sebrle from Czech Republic rounded out the top six places respectively with 2634 and 2597 points.
Clay cleared 2.06m (859 points) on his first attempt, which proved to be enough to take the win in the High Jump on countback over Aleksey Drozdov from Russia and Leonel Suarez from Cuba who both needed three attempts to clear. Clay, Drozdov and Suarez then took three unsuccessful attempts at 2.09m. With only the 400m to be contested Clay led the overall ranking with 3620 points overtaking Kasyanov who cleared 1.97m. The gap between Clay and Kasyanov amounted to 56 points. Hardee (1.97m) and Bertocchi (2.00m) tied for third place with 3437 points. Sebrle (2.03m) followed in fifth place with 3428 points, one point ahead of Andres Raja from Estonia.
Kasyanov overtook Clay thanks to his solid 48.21 in the 400m which capped a good first day in which the Ukrainian finished as the overnight leader with 4463 points, but with a lead of just 13 points ahead of Clay who clocked 49.66 in the one-lap event. The major surprise was Bertocchi’s overnight third place with 4317 points after 48.60. Hardee (48.88) follows in fourth place with 4304 points.
Clay’s comeback to the Mosle Stadium where he won in 2006 was one of the much-awaited highlights of meeting’s 36th edition. Clay made his return after one year off which followed his Olympic title in Beijing. “It was ok. I cannot complain with my first Decathlon competition after two years. My 100 metres PB was very good but I am not very happy with the shot put and the 400 metres and the high jump was ok,” Clay said.
The Heptathlon got off to a fast start. Fountain beat Ennis in the 100m Hurdles by just 0.02, 12.87 to 12.89 (1144 to 1141 points). Fountain, who is a very strong hurdler with a non-heptathlon PB of 12.65, broke the meeting record in this event by 0.02 seconds. Ennis clocked her fastest ever time in a heptathlon and ran faster than in her Berlin World title competition where she crossed the finish-line in 12.93, although she set a overall PB of 12.81 last year. Russian Tatyana Chernova, Olympic bronze medallist and Gotzis winner in 2008, set her event PB in a Heptathlon with 13.47 (1055 points). World silver medallist Jennifer Oeser from Germany also set her heptathlon PB in the hurdles event with 13.48 (1053 points).
Ennis got a clean sheet in the high jump until 1.91m for a score of 1119 points (two centimetres off her seasonal best set in Loughborough last week) before failing three times at 1.94m (with a very close attempt on the final try). The Briton took a lead of 150 points (2260 to 2110 points) over Fountain who cleared all heights up to 1.79m before missing three attempts at 1.82m. Chernova cleared 1.82m (1003 points) on her third attempt and took third place in the overall ranking with 2058 points, six points more ahead of Lyudmila Yosipyneko.
Ennis improved her shot put PB to 14.25m (811 points) and increased her lead to 204 points over Fountain who produced a best release to 13.45m. Olympic champion Natalya Dobrynska from Ukraine, who started slowly by her standards with 14.13 in the 100m Hurdles and 1.79m in the high jump, won the shot put with 15.72m, which moved her up to third place with 2835 points, 32 points behind Fountain. Dobrynska overtook Chernova (13.66m in the shot put) by six points.
Rain started falling on the Mosle Stadium shortly before the 200m. Ennis capped a very good day one by winning the event in 23.31 (1048 points). The Briton finished day one with 4119 points, just five points behind the pace to improve her 6731 points PB set when she won the World title in Berlin last year. She increased her lead over Fountain (second in the 200 metres in 24.06) to 277 points. Chernova, who ran the 200m in 24.47 finished the first day in third place with 3765 points. Reigning Gotzis champion Dobrynska is in fifth place with 3690 points, nine points behind her compatriot Lyudmyla Yosypenko.
“I am really pleased,” Ennis said. “I had very good results in the shot put, the 100 metres hurdles and the high jump but I am a little disappointed with the 200 metres where I hoped to be quicker.
“I am focused on the long jump. It will be the key event tomorrow because I know that my rivals are strong in the long jump,” Ennis added.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
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