CarloWith the completion of the recent Asian Championships in Guangdong, China, the last event of the 2009 IAAF Combined Events Challenge has been completed, and the overall winners are Trey Hardee of the USA and Nataliya Dobrynska from Ukraine.
2009 represented the 12th successive year that this Challenge has been held, and, as well as the five individual permit meetings, this season the series included the World Championships in Berlin, and a number of other competitions including the Universiade, Asian Championships, European Cup meetings etc….
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The Challenge offers a total of US$202,000 in Prize Money paid by the IAAF which is distributed to both the top-8 men and women as follows: 1st $30,000, 2nd $20,000, 3rd $15,000, 4th $10,000, 5th $8000, 6th $7000, 7th $6000, 8th $5000.
Athletes had to complete three competitions from the list of 14 meetings this year to be eligible to contend for the overall price, and in 2009 twenty male athletes and twenty-two women made the grade. In total 335 athletes participated in one or more meetings.
Men - DECATHLON
The overall winner of the men’s challenge was the USA athlete Trey Hardee. The 2009 World champion in the Decathlon took the overall victory (25,567pts) via a second place in the Austrian city of Götzis (8516 points), the USA trials in Eugene (8261 points) and with a personal best performance at the World championships in Berlin (8790 points).
Hardee is the successor to last year’s winner Andrei Kravchenko and other illustrious names such as 4 times winner Roman Sebrle (CZE), Olympic 2000 champion, Erki Nool (EST) - 2 times winner, former World record holder Tomas Dvorak – also 2 times winner, and Tom Pappas (USA) and Dmitriy Karpov (KAZ).
Second place in 2009 was taken by Cuba’s Yordanis Garcia, who was ninth in Berlin. He is in the vanguard of a new, young generation of decathletes from his country who are likely to play an important role in this event in the coming years. His countrymen Leonel Suarez was the World championships silver medallist and had taken second position in the Challenge last year. Garcia is only 20-years-old and his comrade is 22-years-old. Garcia totalled his score of 25,231 points in Cuba (La Habana) and in Germany (Ratingen and Berlin).
Ukrainian athlete Oleksey Kasyanov, who won the Décastar meeting in Talence, secured third place in the overall standings ahead of World championships bronze medalist Aleksandr Pogorelov (RUS). He completed his third meeting in Talence, but his score was not enough to pass Kasyanov.
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Women - HEPTATHLON
In the women’s event the newly crowned World champion, Jessica Ennis, decided after Berlin not to compete in a third meeting this year. Although in good shape she did not want to take the risk of getting injured again, after being out from competition for 1 year since her injury in Götzis 2008.
This gave new chances to the Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska from Ukraine. After a disappointing fourth place at this year’s World championships she was looking to rebuild her reputation. In September she did so by beating all her rivals in the French city of Talence (near Bordeaux).
Dobrynska totaled a score of 19,487 points in her three meetings. She started by winning this year’s Hypo meeting in Götzis with 6558 points, followed in Berlin with 6444 points. In Talence she added 6485 points to her total.
Overall second place was taken by World championships silver medalist, Jennifer Oeser (GER). She totalled 19,255 points in Götzis (6320 points), Ratingen (6442 points) and Berlin (6493 points).
Hanna Melnychenko was only 19 points behind Oeser after the World championships in Berlin. In Talence she made a new attempt to close this gap, but the Ukrainian athlete who won this year the European Cup Super League meeting, could not improve anymore in Talence.
The third athlete of the Ukrainian troika - they completed the podium in Götzis this year and were in fourth to sixth positions at the World championships in Berlin - is Lyudmyla Yosypenko. She scored a personal best in the Heptathlon in Talence, where she was second behind Dobrynska. With this score of 6.423 points she missed the third place with only 39 points.
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Hans van Kuijen for the IAAF