Ashton Eaton needed only one event to kick himself back into the groove following a greatly disappointing High Jump performance and he did it in style in the 400m.
Having run a 45.64 personal best earlier this year, the 25-year-old smashed his own best result within a Decathlon, clocking 46.02. It is the second-fastest ever time in a Decathlon with the only faster time being Bill Toomey’s altitude-assisted 45.68 at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.
Naturally it’s also the fastest time in a World Championships Decathlon; the previous mark of 46.15 was set by Cuban Yunior Diaz in Berlin 2009.
Eaton overtook his compatriot Gunnar Nixon in the overall standings with his excellent 400m performance and is now leading with 4502 points after the first day. Seemingly on course to score something in the region of 8700-8800, it means Eaton is now only fighting against himself to win the gold tomorrow.
Despite falling back in the standings, Nixon also did well setting a season’s best of 48.56 in the last event of day one and is in second place with 4493. But with a weaker second day compared to his rivals, Nixon looks set to slip out of the top three.
The predicted total scores are now giving the two remaining medals to Dutchman Eelco Sintnicolaas and Germans Michael Schrader and Pascal Behrenbruch with the margin being really small.
Canada’s Damian Warner, Belarusian Andrei Krauchanka and German Rico Freimuth are all lurking behind the trio and have a chance overtake any of them in the case of a failure during day two.
Schrader is now in third place with 4427, having run a big personal best of 47.66 in the 400m, erasing his five-year PB of 48.01. Warner is fourth with 4381 after a solid 400m result of 48.41, while Sintnicolaas is fifth with 4318 and a 48.25 400m result, very close to his season’s best. The 26-year-old will gain a lot of points against the others in the Pole Vault tomorrow; he has cleared 5.40m indoors and outdoors this season and has PBs of 5.45m outdoors and 5.52m indoors.
Freimuth is in sixth place with 4296 after running 48.05 in the 400m, while European champion Behrenbruch is seventh with 4258, having set a PB of 48.40 in the 400m.
Krauchanka is now in 11th place with 4244, but still has an outside chance for a medal, just like Cuban Leonel Suarez, who after a disappointing High Jump, ran a good 48.21 in the 400m and is in 17th place at the moment.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF