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Dvorak heads towards Decastar victory

World Champion Tomas Dvorak solidly in the lead in the Decastar Combined Events Meeting
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF

18 September 1999 – Talence (FRA) – The 10,000 spectators who have come to Talence’s stade de Thouard today to whatch the Décastar Meeting, final stage of the IAAF World Combined Events Challenge have been rewarded with bright sunshine and world class performances. For the first time in its history, both men and women combined events world champions attended the Décastar Meeting promising an exciting two-day competition.

World record holder and World Champion Tomas Dvorak lined up in the 100m, first of the ten events which make up the Decathlon with the declared intention of scoring more than 8800 points.

With a head wind blowing at 1.50m/s he won his heat ahead of Estonia’s Erki Nool who lost all chances of gaining a world medal in Seville after the pole vault contest, in which he could not clear a height, by just 4 hundredths of a second (10.75 to 10.79).

Nool then produced a sensational 7.93m with his second attempt in the long jump to score 1043 points and take the lead ahead of the World Champion Tomas Dvorak (1951 points to 1917). Nool took advantage of a tail wind blowing at 3.40 m/s (the accepted limit in the combined events is 4.00m/s) to improve his decathlon long jump best by 14 centimetres.

"I am here to try and forget my very unlucky World Championships. I would like to take a kind of revenge here in Talence. I have had a good long jump contest today despite some little technical problems."

With a last attempt of 16.63m in the shot put, Tomas Dvorak added 890 points to his total while Erki Nool’s best throw of 14.18 gave him 739 points. Russia’s Lev Lobodin was second in the shot put contest with a throw of 16.07m (856 points) and USA’s Brian Brophy was third with 16.03m (853 points).

After three events the world record holder Dvorak went back in the lead with 2807 points ahead of Nool (2690) supported by a large Estonian group wearing bright yellow shirts reading ‘Talence 99 – Erki Nool Fan Club, and Czech Roman Sebrle (2614).

After having to use all three attempts to clear an entrance height at 1.89m, Erki Nool eventually jumped 1.98m in a contest won by Tomas Dvorak who improved his high jump personal best with an effort of 2.07m. Dvorak who did not attempt any other height afterwards in order to concentrate on the final event of the day, the 400m which confirmed his lead after four events with 3675 points ahead of compatriot Roman Sebrle (3482) who claimed 868 points in the high jump with a clearance of 2.07m. Nool was third with 3475 points with Lobodin (3395) and Levicq (3261) close behind.

With an impressive run in the 400m, Erki Nool clocked 43.75 leaving Dvorak almost two seconds behind (49.10) and closing the gap in the standings after five events. Dvorak led at this stage with 4532 points – some 130 points below his world record – with runner up Erki Nool finishing his first day of competition with 4416 points. Czech Roman Sebrle who did not complete his decathlon in Seville after messing up the 110m hurdles is currently third with 4354 points. At the end of day one, seven men scored more than 4000 points France’s Laurent Hernu being seventh with 4017, 43 points above his personal best.

Suffering from a bad pain in the back, France’s Eunice Barber, Heptathlon reigning World Champion announced she would only take part in individual events in Talence. "I could win the $30,000 prize money for the Combined Events Challenge if I finished the heptathon tomorrow but I know that I would get injured. And 2000 is an Olympic year and I have to be ready for it." Barber said explaining she would only compete in her two favourite events the 100m hurdles and the long jump.

Quarter finalist in Seville in the 100m hurdles individual event, Barber clocked 13.12 to easily win her heat ahead of American Sheila Burrell (13.39) and Dedee Nathan (13.53). But despite leading the field Eunice Barber confirmed her intention not to complete the heptathlon. She nevertheless went on to the high jump runaway to support countrywoman and friend Marie Collonvillé. She eventually warmed up with all other contestants and borrowing Dedee Nathan’s spikes – she decided not to put her high jump spikes in her bag not to be tempted to jump - went on to a large clearance at the height of 1.69m. She then went on to a clear series at 1.75, 1.81 and 1.87, before failing three times at 1.90, to win the event and improving her leading margin.

" I hadn’t thought to take part in the high jump because of my health problems. I haven’t been training for one week but the crowd here is so great that I do not want to disappoint them. I will now have to solve a little problem before heading to the shot put: my nails." Barber had now made up her mind and was determined to continue her efforts.

American champion Sheila Burrell who finished eleventh in Seville and is currently second in the IAAF World Combined Events Challenge could not clear the first height at 1.63m losing all chances of improving her current position.

Meanwhile, 1999 pentathlon World Indoor Champion Dedee Nathan, who did not compete in the World Championships in Seville after missing the US Trials – she failed three times at 1.71m, the only height she attempted in the high jump – and cleared 1.66m, a performance well below her expectations.

After two events in the Heptathlon, Barber was still in the lead with 2173 points ahead of Poland’s Ursula Wlodarczyk (2009) and France’s Marie Collonvillé (1995).

Barber wrapped her black and golden finger nails she had done in London last week to protect them from any possible inconvenience and went on to shot put 11.40m in what she objectively considers her worst event.

Meanwhile, Ursula Wlodarczyk improved her shot put outdoor personal best with her first attempt of 15.04m to take the lead with 2873 points ahead of Russia’s Irina Vostrikova (2851) who won the shot put with 15.28m. Germany’s Sabine Braun (14.44m in the shot put) and American Dedee Nathan (14.81m) improved to third and fifth position in the current standings with 2807 and 2794 points respectively while Barber (2773) retrograded to fourth position.

After three events in the heptathlon only 137 points divided the first six women in the standings Finland’s Tiia Hautala being sixth with 2736 points.

Russia’s Natalya Roshchupkina won the final event of day one of the heptathlon, the 200m with 23.71 ahead of Sheila Burrell (23.84) and Eunice Barber (24.05) while Ursula Wlodarczyck clocked 24.82 in the first and slower heat.

At the end of the first day of competition, 1998 World Combined Events Challenge winner Ursula Wlodarczyk is in the lead with 3776 points with Eunice Barber just 4 points behind (3770). Sabine Braun who is competing in her third heptathlon of the year and has serious chances of finishing in one of the top positions of the Combined Events Challenge is currently third with 3741 points. Dedee Nathan and Irina Vostrikova follow with 3712 and 3680 points respectively for a promising and exciting second day tomorrow.

Standings after Day One

Tomas Dvorak (CZE) 4532 points
Erki Nool (EST) 4416 points
Roman Sebrle (CZE) 4354 points
Lev Lobodin (RUS) 4209 points
Sébastien Levicq (FRA) 4051 points
Henrik Dagard (SWE) 4030 points
Laurent Hernu (FRA) 4017 points
Indrek Kaseorg (EST) 3997 points
Zsolt Kurtosi (HUN) 3993 points
Jorg Goedicke (EST) 3987 points
Wilfrid Boulineau (FRA) 3947 points
Dan Steele (USA) 3896 points
Brian Brophy (USA) 3865 points
Gaetan Blouin (FRA) 3861 points
Jon Arnar Magnusson (ISL) dnf


Ursula Wlodarczyk (POL) 3776 points
Eunice Barber (FRA) 3770 points
Sabine Braun (GER) 3741 points
Dedee Nathan (USA) 3712 points
Irina Vostrikova (RUS) 3680 points
Natalya Roshchupina (RUS) 3632 points
Irina Belova (RUS) 3627 points
Tiia Hautala (FIN) 3621 points
Gertrud Bacher (ITA) 3513 points
Marie Collonville (FRA) 3481 points
Muriel Crozet (FRA) 3413 points
Sheila Burrell (USA) 2734 points