Canada claimed a winning double with Damian Warner and Brianne Theisen taking the Decathlon and Heptathlon at the famous Hypo Meeting in the Austrian town of Gotzis, the second leg of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, on Sunday (26).
Warner, fifth in the London 2012 Olympic Games, scored 8307 points to beat Brazil’s Carlos Chinin, who was second with a personal best of 8182 points while Theisen set a 2013 world-leading mark of 6376 points, just 64 points short of her best set last year when winning the American collegiate (NCAA) title for the third time.
Warner, the overnight leader, picked up where he left off by winning the 110m Hurdles in 13.92 to increase his advantage to 181 points. The USA’s reigning World junior champion Gunnar Nixon moved up to second place in the overall rankings thanks to his 14.55 run while Chinin won the his heat in 14.23 to move up to third place.
The Canadian maintained his leading position with 6051 points after throwing 42.99m in the Discus but, behind him, Chinin threw 45.56m to move up to second place with 5896 points.
Canada’s Massimo Bertocchi was the best in the Discus with 49.96m.
Reigning European Athletics Indoor Championships Pentathon champion Eelco Sintnicolaas, as expected, won the Pole Vault with 5.06m but the Dutchman was well below his best of 5.52m, which was symptomatic of his modest two days in Gotzis. Warner cleared his opening height of 4.56m only on his third attempt and that was all he managed, as good as ending any chances of improving on his personal best of 8442 points that he achieved in London last summer, but kept his leading position with 6829 points and margin of 65 points over Chinin, who continued his outstanding competition with a personal best of 4.86m to stay in second position with 6764 points.
Bertocchi, a Canadian of Italian origin, cleared 4.76m to climb up to third place overall with 6666 points, 16 more than Gunnar Nixon.
Warner bounced back from his Pole Vault problems to set a new lifetime best of 62.84m and increase his lead over Chinin to 163 points, with The Netherlands’ Piet Rietveld having the best throw of the afternoon with 65.66m.
Without any major targets in sight, Warner didn’t push himself excessively in the 1500m and clocked 4:37.37, almost eight seconds outside his best, but still emerged as a comfortable winner.
Nixon, just 20, won the 1500m race in a career best of 4:29.75 to clinch third place with a best of 8136 points, a superb result from his first major international competition with senior implements.
“It was an awesome weekend but it was pretty tough. It was not perfect but I really enjoyed the competition. The weather was bad but Gotzis has the best crowd. I was good in the Hurdles and in the Discus. The Pole Vault was pretty bad. The score is good but the most important thing was to win,” reflected Warner.
Theisen on top form, Chernova disappoints
In the Heptathlon, Russia’s reigning World champion Tatyana Chernova won the long jump with 6.57m helped by a tailwind of 2.6 metres-per-second, beating The Netherlands’ 2010 World junior champion Dafne Schippers by one centimetre, but the latter moved into pole position overall after five events with 4838 points, overhauling the first day leader Theisen and leading 50 points.
However, the Javelin saw Theisen regain the lead with 5512 points thanks to her best throw of 42.95m. The Netherlands’ Nadine Broersen won the Javelin with 52.37m and went into second place with 5496 point, 34 points ahead of her compatriot Schippers who could not manage better than 37.72m.
Chernova’s generally miserable two days continued when she was well short of her best of 54.49m with a throw of 45.45m but it did move her to fourth place with 5435 points.
Theisen, 11th at the Olympic Games last summer then clocked 2:17:02 in the 800m to clinch first place and cap an outstanding competition while Broersen achieved a personal best of 6345 points to finish second, ahead of Schippers who totalled 6287 points, three more than the off-form Chernova.
“It means a lot to win in Gotzis. When you are so young, you don’t fully realise how important this event is. Once I get older, I will realise what I did. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the crowd and the music. They gave me a lot of energy. I could not be happier. Everything was almost perfect,” reflected a tired but happy Theisen.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF