Titans to Clash in Ratingen
By IAAF Correspondent
14 June 2002 - Ratingen, Germany - Three heroes of the decathlon will clash in Ratingen, for the first and last time in one competition before the European Championships in Munich.
The German traditional event which also acts as the Trials for Munich for German athletes and is a part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge was able to put together this trio of the world’s best.
World record holder Roman Sebrle got very quickly over any symptoms of tiredness after Gotzis and is ready for the challenge. "My feelings are excellent, I want to attack my world record. But of course anything could happen, we will see after the first day.
“In my mind is also the win, this is very important too," said Sebrle who was able to improve his training personal best for 100 m during practice on Thursday morning. He has in his legs 8800 points which is not only the world leading mark this year, but also Sebrle’s second overall (bettered only by his historical WR last year of 9026 points).
For his great rivals Tomas Dvorak and Erkki Nool, this will be their first decathlon of the year. Dvorak said to the Czech media that he is not expecting a great result: "I m not going with high expectations. I want to achieve the standard for Munich, which is for Czech athletes 8050 points." It is true that his preparations have not been going well, but as many observers noted, he is an excellent competitor always ready to do better than expected.
Erkki Nool is supposed to be in excellent shape and has to his credit a personal record at 200 m with 21.28 just 10 days ago and also a 7.82 metre long jump.
The strongest German hope is Frank Busemann, the silver medallist from Atlanta, who achieved this year already very good sprint times, but has problems with his elbow and has needed to change throwing hands.
Everything is ready for an excellent event with 16 competitors for the decathlon and 13 for the women´s heptathlon. Meet Director and former decathlete Claus Marek was satisfied. "All stars are here, I have spoken with them and they are ready for a great event. For the weekend we expect summer sunny weather so it should be really nice."
Foreign competitors are 8 men and 5 women. In decathlon 15 athletes have personal best over 8000 points, in heptathlon 10 with best over 6000 points. World best mark of the year (6363 by Shelia Burrell in Götzis 14 days ago) should be in danger in the heptathlon too. The main favourite is Natalya Sazanovich of Belarus (silver medallist from Edmonton) who will be competing in the first heptathlon of the year.
The meet starts on Saturday at 10.45 am with 100 m for men and ends with 400 m for men at 4.15 pm. On Sunday the first competing will be again men at the high hurdles at 10.00 am. Last event for heptathlon, the 800 m is scheduled for 3.30 pm and the 10th event for men (1500 m) for 4.45 pm.