Ashton Eaton is back in business. The US all-rounder had problems with his high jumping in Moscow at the 2013 World Championships because of a hamstring injury, but those problems are long gone.
A first-time clearance at 2.06m gave Eaton a clear lead after the first day with 3653 points. This was his highest jump since June 2012 and his best in a combined events competition since August 2011.
The 26-year-old, who has set a world indoor record in three consecutive heptathlons, is now only one point behind his day-one score from his 6645 record series.
In Istanbul his second day included 7.68 in the 60m hurdles and 5.20m in the pole vault. He has already run 7.61 in the hurdles this season and vaulted a 5.35m personal best, so he has a great chance for an unbelievable fourth straight world indoor record in the heptathlon.
Gladly, Eaton was not the only one to perform. The heptathlon suddenly came to life in this event with two athletes making sure they are poised to take one of the two medals behind the combined events king during day two.
Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus has been a keen fan of the World Indoor Championships. He won the silver medal in 2008 and then finished fourth in 2010 and sixth in 2012. The 28-year-old, who also has an Olympic silver medal from Beijing in 2008, has always been a good high jumper, but today he was in sublime form.
Having only a 2.16m outdoor best from the World Junior Championships in 2004, Krauchanka has jumped well indoors several times. His previous best was 2.19m from 2005, a result which stood as his PB for more than nine years. But his first-time clearance of 2.21m today gives him 3583 points for second place and a good chance of securing another silver medal in this competition tomorrow.
Belgian Thomas Van Der Plaetsen was another high jump star today. The 23-year-old jumped 2.12m, his second best ever indoor mark, to move into fourth with 3477, just 39 points behind Oleksiy Kasyanov. The Ukrainian jumped 2.03m, but will struggle to keep ahead of the Belgian, who has a 5.30m pole vault PB, some 50cm ahead of the Kasyanov’s indoor best.
Canadian Damian Warner has dropped off the medal fight a bit. He cleared 2.00m in the high jump for 3384 points in fifth place, but is an excellent hurdler and could make up important points in that event.
Kai Kazmirek jumped 2.03m for 3358 points in sixth place. World leading athlete Eelco Sintnicolaas finally did well in one of the events, reaching a season’s best of 2.03m in the high jump. The Dutchman is also an excellent pole vaulter, but is now too far away with 3309 points for the seventh place. Pascal Behrenbruch of Germany is eighth with 3199 points.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF