Kevin Mayer in the decathlon long jump (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Florence, Italy

Mayer looking for confidence-boosting start to 2016 in Florence

Kevin Mayer will aim to become the first French decathlete to win at the Multistars Trofeo Zerneri Acciai in Florence on 29-30 April, the third leg of the 2016 IAAF Combined Events Challenge.

The European silver medallist’s only other appearance at the Multistars meeting was in 2014, but he withdrew from the competition before the end of the first day. After his 2015 season was cut short due to injury, Mayer will be hoping for a triumphant return to Florence this weekend.

Winner of the 2009 world youth and 2010 world junior titles, Mayer’s first major medal as a senior athlete came at the 2013 European Indoor Championships where he took silver. He went on to finish fourth at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow where he broke his decathlon personal best with 8446, a mark he has since improved to 8521.

Mayer has started 2016 in good form. Having set indoor PBs at 60m, 60m hurdles, the pole vault and shot put, he clocked a big PB of 10.89 for 100m earlier this month.

The Multistars meeting record stands at 8390, which is a mark Mayer has equalled or surpassed on six occasions.

Mayer will face Britain’s Ashley Bryant, who finished second in Florence Multistars in 2013 and 2014. The Commonwealth silver medallist has a PB of 8141, set in Gotzis two years ago. Like Mayer, he is returning to form after being forced to prematurely end his 2015 season.

Great Britain will be also represented by Ben Gregory who recently set a Welsh record of 7882 in Azusa.

Belgium’s Niels Pittomvils is another decathlete with a PB in excess of 8000 points. The 24-year-old set a PB of 8049 last year and will be competing at the Multistars meeting for the first time.

Italian hopes will be carried by Simone Cairoli and Michele Calvi. National champion Cairoli made a breakthrough at last year’s edition of the Multistars where he finished third with a personal best of 7611. Calvi also set his PB in Florence, scoring 7500 to finish fourth in 2013. More recently, he finished second at the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting in Reduit earlier this month.

New Zealand’s 2010 Commonwealth silver medallist Brent Newdick, the Multistars runner-up in 2011, is also set to compete.

Yfantidou looking for third Multistars win

Defending champion Sofia Yfantidou will be bidding for her third Multistars heptathlon victory.  The 31-year-old from Greece clinched her first Multistars victory in 2012 with 6109 and regained her title last year with 5900. Yfantidou is particularly strong on the second day as she excels in the javelin, an event in which she boasts a personal best of 57.50m. She achieved that mark last year en route to setting a heptathlon PB of 6113.

Brazil will be represented by Pan-American Games bronze medallist Vanessa Spinola, who has a PB of 6103, and 2012 world junior bronze medallist Tamara De Sousa, whose PB of 5962 was set when winning the 2014 national title.

France’s 2003 world youth champion Marisa De Aniceto will return to Multistars. She finished fifth at this meeting in 2012 and then went on to improve her PB to 6182.

New Zealand’s Portia Bing, who set a PB of 6102 last year, is also set to compete, along with Belgium’s European junior silver medallist Hanne Maudens, while Italy will be represented by national champion Federica Palumbo.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF