Germany’s Rico Freimuth and Carolin Schäfer topped the end-of-season standings in the 2017 IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
The scoring system takes each athlete’s three best marks from the series and combines the points into an overall score. Prize money is awarded to the top eight finishers at the end of the challenge. The athlete with the highest score wins US $30,000.
1 Rico Freimuth (GER) 25,592
2 Damian Warner (CAN) 25,152
3 Kai Kazmirek (GER) 24,986
4 Janek Oiglane (EST) 24,578
5 Oleksiy Kasyanov (UKR) 24,531
1 Carolin Schäfer (GER) 20,199
2 Anouk Vetter (NED) 19,496
3 Yorgelis Rodriguez (CUB) 19,166
4 Xenia Krizsan (HUN) 19,028
5 Nadine Visser (NED) 18,908
The two Germans produced the most dominant challenge campaigns for more than a decade.
Since taking the world bronze medal in 2015, Freimuth had battled injuries and failed to complete a decathlon in 2016. But he showed a return to form at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis when finishing third with 8365, a mark he significantly improved one month later when he won in Ratingen with a PB of 8663. He ended his season by taking the silver medal at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 with a score of 8564,
Having won in 2014, Freimuth becomes just the fifth man in history to win the Combined Events Challenge more than once, following Erki Nool, Tomas Dvorak, Roman Sebrle and Andrei Krauchanka. Freimuth’s 25,592 is the highest winning score since Sebrle’s 2004 mark of 25,952. Meanwhile, his winning margin of 440 points is the biggest since 2002.
Illness meant that Olympic bronze medallist Damian Warner wasn’t at his best at the World Championships and the Canadian had to settle for fifth place in London. But, having won in Gotzis earlier in the year with 8591, he ended his season with a victory at the Decastar meeting in Talence, putting him in second place overall in the challenge standings.
Kai Kazmirek, last year’s challenge winner, was third this time. Estonia’s Janek Oiglane enjoyed a superb breakthrough season, culminating with a 8371 PB at the World Championships to finish fourth, a position he replicated in the overall challenge standings.
Schäfer’s season-long consistency in the heptathlon began with a 6836 lifetime best in Gotzis. She followed that with a 6667 victory in Ratingen before taking the silver medal at the World Championships with a score of 6696. Having also won the overall title in 2016, Schäfer becomes the first back-to-back winner since compatriot Jennifer Oeser in 2011.
Schäfer’s combined tally of 20,199 points is the highest winning score in the series since Carolina Kluft’s 2005 win, while her winning margin of 703 points is the biggest since 2006.
World bronze medallist Anouk Vetter of the Netherlands produced a 6363 victory in Talence to finish second overall in the challenge for the second year in a row. Cuba’s Yorgelis Rodriguez finished fourth at the World Championships and second in Talence, landing her with an overall third-place finish in the challenge.