Belarus’s Andrei Krauchanka set a 2013 world-leading mark of 8390 points in the men’s Decathlon at the Multistars Firenze Trofeo Zerneri Acciai, the opening meeting of the 2013 IAAF Combined Events Challenge, at the Luigi Ridolfi stadium in Firenze (Florence) on Friday (3).
Tthe 2008 Olympic Games silver medallist also improved upon the previous meeting record of 8339 points, which had held by Czech Republic’s Jiri Ryba since he won the 2000 edition of the famous multi-events meeting.
The women’s Heptathlon was a little less spectacular but The Netherlands’ Anouk Vetter, who was in first place overnight with 3553 points, followed in the footsteps of Krauchanka and stayed in front throughout the second day before emerging triumphant with 5872 points.
Krauchanka, who in addition to his medal in Beijing also won the 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships Heptathlon title, picked up where he left off after leading at the end of the first day with 4225 points by winning the 110m Hurdles in 14.11 for an additional 960 points.
The Hurdles event did not produce any changes to the top three from overnight, with Krauchanka first with 5185 points ahead of Poland’s Pawel Wiesolek, who clocked 15.20, second with 4939 points and Great Britain’s 21-year-old Ashley Bryant third with 4889 points.
The multi-events exponent from Belarus then collected his fourth individual win in the Discus with a personal best of 46.04m for 788 points and increased his lead to 353 points over Wiesiolek, with the pair having 5973 and 5620 points respectively.
After seven events, Krauchanka was looking at a potential score over 8400 points, and he continued his solid compettion after two years of injuries by being the best in the Pole Vault when going over 5.05m points to move his total along to 6899 points after eight events and put even more distance between himself and his Polish rival.
Krauchanka’s string of wins came to an end when Bryant set a new Javelin meeting record with a highly impressive 70.42m to overtake Wiesolek for second place with 7241 points but Krauchanka sent his implement out to 60.59m to give himself a comfortable lead with 7646 points.
He finished off his two days in Italy with a highly satisfactory 1500m in 4:30.11, his fastest time for five years, to become the only man to go over 8000 points in Firenze with his winning total of 8390 points. Bryant improved his 1500m best by a huge margin when clocking 4:30:04 and also improved his Decathlon best by 148 points with 7985 points while Wiesiolek smashed his lifetime best by 385 points to finish third with 7727 points.
“I am pleased with my competition after undergoing surgery in Finland (in July 2012). I and my coach have not big plans but we expect to return to be in top shape next year. I will compete at the end of May in Gotzis,” commented Krauchanka.
Vetter managed to defend her overnight leading position after leaping to 5.55m in the Long Jump but her lead was reduced to 109 points. The big surprise in the first event of the second day was provided by Belgium’s Marjolen Lindemann, who climbed from seventh to second place thanks to her 6.11m jump.
Sadly, Brazil’s Tamara De Souza, the 2012 World Junior Championships bronze medallist who had been lying third after four events, pulled out injured before the long jump.
Vetter, still just 20, then improved her Javelin best to an outstanding 53.10m for 930 points, her third personal best of the competition, to increase her total to 5188 points and her lead grew to 385 points over her nearest rival, her compatriot Nadine Visser who moved back into to second with a throw of 39.07m.
Tiredness overtook Vetter and she trudged around 800m in 2:30.69 but it was enough to wrap up the competition with a total of 5872 points, 108 points better than her previous best.
Great Britain’s Jo Rowland came through strongly on the second day and ran 2:17:75 to finish as the runner-up after seven events with 5638 points while Visser, who is only 18, who finished third with 5638 points.
“Hurdles, high jump, shot put were very good. The 200 m were all right although I was slowed by a knee problem. In the 800 m I was empty but I really enjoyed the competition and the atmosphere in Florence. It was too much for me,” said Vetter.
“My main goal is the European Under 23 Championships in Tampere (Finland). Combined events are very strong (in The Netherlands) at the moment, especially thanks to the recent results of Sintnicolaas and Schippers because we have great coaches,” added the winner.
Firenze marked a new era for the Multistars meeting. The second day of Italy’s leading Combined Events competition was capped by a series of invitational competitions held in a highly enjoyable atmosphere.
The highlight was an Italian 300m Hurdles best set by the Cuban-born Yadisleidy Pedroso who clocked 39.09 for the second fastest time ever in the rarely-run event, behind Czech Republic’s London 2012 Olympic Games 400m hurdles bronze medallist Zuzana Hejnova who ran 38.91 in 2011.
Italy’s former Olympic and European silver medallist Nicola Vizzoni received plenty of support from his local fans and won the men’s Hammer with 74.87m.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF