Martin Roe in the decathlon 110m hurdles at the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting in Florence (Organisers) © Copyright
Preview Arona, Spain

Roe and Preiner the favourites in Arona

Defending Multistars decathlon champion Martin Roe of Norway will be the marquee athlete at the International Meeting of Arona this weekend (8-9) as the Canary Islands competition makes its debut as part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge.

Roe, world ranked No.9 in the decathlon, produced a national record of 8228 when winning last year in Florence, one of five career performances beyond the 8000 points barrier. He exceeded that milestone for the first time on Spanish soil in Monzón in July 2017 when he tallied 8144 before going on to finish 12th at the World Championships in London later that season. The 27-year-old, who finished sixth at last summer’s European Championships, will be contesting his third decathlon of this season after placing fourth in Lana with 7917 and 14th in Gotzis two weeks ago with an 8023 tally.

Roe’s best events are the long jump where he has a 7.81 career best and the javelin where he’s thrown 66.72m. The Norwegian’s stiffest opposition should come from Bastien Auzeil, an 8191 performer who will be making his 2019 debut. Similarly to Roe, the 29-year-old Frenchman has surpassed 8000 points six times in his career although he hasn’t topped that mark since 2016. His favourite events are the pole vault, with a 5.20m best, and the shot put where he boasts a 16.52m heave.

Curtis Beach of the US reached his peak at the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland when he just missed the heptathlon bronze by eight points. The 28-year-old has an 8084 career best but has not gone beyond 7684 this year. Beach has a 2.11m high jump clearance, a 7.84m leap in the long jump and a 3:59:13 in the 1500m to his credit.

Watch out too for Kristjan Rosenberg, the 25-year-old Estonian who is fresh from a runner-up spot in Lana where he notched a PB of 7950 points. He’ll be eager to exceed 8000 points for the first time in his career. His strong event is the high jump, having a 2.13m best to his credit. He will be joined by compatriots Taavi Tsernjavski (7873p) and Risto Lillemets (7707) and USA’s Dan Golubovic, who has improved to 7919 this season.

Who can stop Preiner?

Austria’s Verena Preiner seems to be a clear favourite in the heptathlon. The promising 24-year-old is the reigning European U-23 silver medallist and finished sixth in the pentathlon at the European Indoor Championships in March thanks to a massive 4637 PB.

Preiner has topped 6000 points six times and is set to make her season’s debut in Arona. The Austrian excels in the shot put (14.65m) and the 800m where she holds a 2:08:62 time.

Brazil’s Vanessa Spinola won the Multistars title in 2016 but hasn’t reached 6000 points since. The 29-year-old will compete for the third time this season after performances of 5667 in Bragança Paulista and 5676 in Lana. The 2015 Pan-American bronze medallist should also in the top three this weekend alongside Belgium’s Noor Vidts, a 6024 athlete in 2017. While Arona will be her season’s opener, the 23-year-old improved her high jump best to 1.84m this winter in the Spanish city of Antequera and set a 14.05 PB in the shot put last month.

Mild temperatures are expected throughout a sunny weekend in Arona.

Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF