Leonel Suarez of Cuba in the decathlon shot, setting his third PB of the day (Getty Images) © Copyright

Men's Decathlon - PREVIEW

Everything points to a new major championships winner in the men’s Decathlon competition. Bryan Clay, the winner at the Beijing Olympics and 2005 World Championships, was unable to start the competition at US Championships because of an injury and therefore will not compete in Beijing. Clay won with a clear margin of more than 200 points in Beijing and his absence will leave room for a new winner.

The reigning World Champion Roman Sebrle (CZE) has been entered but his 2009 form does not make him a gold medal favourite this time around. Sebrle was sixth in Beijing and could be looking for a dimmer medal in Berlin.

The biggest favourite will be 21-year-old Cuban Leonel Suárez who won the Caribbean Championships with a national record 8654 points, also the world leading mark. Suárez was third in Beijing and has stepped up in many events this season being the best all around decathlete at the moment with no weak events at all. Additionally his finish might surprise a lot of people as he threw the javelin 77.47m and ran a 4:27.29 1500m in his personal best Decathlon.

Olympic silver medallist Andrei Krauchanka (BLR) hasn’t scored high points this season but is still a clear medal candidate. His personal best dates to 2007 when he won the Götzis meet with 8617 points. This season the 23-year-old has only one Decathlon under his belt winning the European Cup with 8336 points.

Other medal challengers include Trey Hardee (USA) who finished second in Götzis this season behind Michael Schrader (GER). The 22-year-old German won with a big personal best 8522 points, but will be unable to compete in Berlin due to a fractured foot. Hardee has only competed in one major championship, in Beijing last year, where he wasn’t able to finish the competition. In Götzis he came close to his 8534 point best from 2008 with 8516 points.

Another Cuban, Yordanis Garcia, just 20, is also on a quest for his first major championships medal. Garcia was the World Youth Champion in the Octathlon in 2005 and won silver at the 2006 World Junior Championships. The youngster has got an incredible season behind him already with three good Decathlons: 8365 points in March, a personal best 8496 in May and 8348 in June.

Aleksandr Pogorelov (RUS), fourth in Beijing, and Oleksiy Kasyanov (UKR) will also be ones to watch and especially Kasyanov who will be near the lead of the competition during the first day. Two more Osaka medallists from 2007, Maurice Smith (JAM) and Dmitriy Karpov (KAZ) have also been entered but in their present condition they will have a lot to do to even get close to the medals.

Pascal Behrenbuch (GER) with a personal best 8374 this year and experienced Frenchman Romain Barras are also looking to finish in the top eight. Barras was fifth in Beijing and finished seventh at both the 2005 and 2007 World championships.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF