event competition couldn't have been any closer.
After concluding the seven event competition tied with 6,067 points apiece, Olympic Decathlon champion Roman Sebrle was given the nod over German Andre Niklaus to claim his fifth win at the Reval Hotels Cup Heptathlon in Tallinn, Estonia, over the weekend.
According to IAAF competition rules, in the event of a tie, the win is given to the athlete who scored more points in a greater number of events. The Czech was better in five, giving him the edge.
"It was an interesting weekend," Sebrle said. "Some events were good, some bad. I can be satisfied with the high jump, and also the hurdles were not bad considering my poor start. I was average in the sprint and pole vault, and of course I gave all in the final 1000 metres."
Sebrle's decision to compete was of the last minute variety, coming on the heels of the birth of his daughter Katerina on Monday. "I wanted to wait until the birth and only then make the decision," Sebrle said. "I came after a hectic week, with not enough time to rest. But I must admit I expected a higher score. But a win is a win and I have enough time left to prepare well for Moscow."
In all, this was Sebrle's 21st indoor Heptathlon, his 11th win and the 15th time he's tallied more than 6000 points. He tallied his personal best of 6,438 points when winning the 2004 World Indoor title in Budapest two years ago, a performance just 38 points shy of Dan O'Brien's 6,476 World record set in 1993.
Sebrle was fourth after the first day of competition, trailing Estonians Kristjan Rahnu and Mikk Pahapill and Jakko Ojaniemi of Finland. The Czech was 75 points behind the leader, with Niklaus, who was fourth in the Decathlon at the World Championships in Helsinki last year, 226 points behind in seventh place. The key event was the Pole Vault. Sebrle caught up with a 4.85 clearance, while Niklaus, who jumped 5.35 and is considered a better runner in the 1000m, suddenly emerged as a threat for the win.
To clinch the win, Sebrle had to finish within two seconds of the 24-year-old Niklaus, a two-time European Under-23 champion and the bronze medallist at the 2000 World Junior Championships. In a dramatic finish, Niklaus won the 1000m in 2:40.38. Fading in the final 80m, Sebrle clocked 2:42.44 to take the overall win literally by the thickness of his vest.
Rahnu (6,005) and Pahapill (5,969) were third and fourth, showing that the new Estonian generation, following in the footsteps of now retired 2000 Olympic champion Erki Nool, will be a significant force. The two now hope that their position on the World list will be high enough to warrant an IAAF invitation later this month for the World Indoor Championships in Moscow.
1. Roman Šebrle, CZE 6067
(7,10 - 740 – 14,66 – 207 – 8,08 – 485 – 2:42.44)
2. Andre Niklaus, GER 6067
(7,18 – 736 – 13,71 – 201 – 8,19 – 535 – 2:40.38)
3. Kristjan Rahnu, EST 6005
(6.90 - 722 – 15,45- 207 - 8.00 - 455 - 2:48.74)
4. Mikk Pahapill, EST 5969
(7.15 - 741 - 15.30 - 207 - 8.34 - 505 - 2:53.81)
5. Aleksandr Parkhomenko, BLR 5909
6. Andres Raja, EST 5897
A correspondent and Bob Ramsak for the IAAF