Tomas Dvorak after winning the 1997 world decathlon title in Athens (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Birthday gift for Dvorak in Götzis

He celebrated his 27th birthday just a few days ago (on 11 May) and said to himself: "I want to give myself a present: a win in Götzis to show everyone that I am still number one in this World Championship year."

Thomas Dvorak, a metre ninety and 86kg, wanted to get his revenge after a year – 1998 – which had been anything but perfect. He had suffered some minor injury problems and had to concede defeat to Estonia’s Erki Nool. In Götzis itself, just twelve months ago, Dvorak had to settle for second place behind the agile Estonian. He then went on to take a modest fifth place in the European championships in Budapest. In 1999, he didn’t get off on the soundest of footings, missing the medal table by a mere 10 points in Maebashi. A poor showing for someone who had become world champion in Athens in 1997, missing the world record by a handful of points.

Now was the time for revenge. For the first time he added his name to the list of winners of the illustrious Austrian meeting and by three points bettered the record for the meeting created by Ing. Konrad Lerch. He scored a total of 8738 points against the previous record of 8735 set in 1994 by the then Bielorussian (now Finnish) Eduard Hämäläinen.

A points score well out of reach for an Erki Nool not on his best form, who took second place nearly 300 points behind the powerhouse of Prague. The tenacious Russian of Ukrainian origin, Lev Lobodin, took third place.

We mentioned the World Indoor Championships in Maebashi earlier and will mention them again now to praise the gold medallist in Japan, America’s LeShundra Nathan, better known by her nickname DeDee. The 31 year-old seems to have been spurred on by her victory in Japan, scoring 6577 in Götzis, 98 better than her previous best, which she set last year when she came second behind the great Jackie Joyner Kersee in the Goodwill Games. She put up a 110 point barrier between herself and second-placed Russian Irina Belova, who won last year’s edition of the Hypomeeting here in Götzis.

No great showing among the others, from Poland’s Wlodarczyk to Germany’s Sabine Braun, who withdrew.

Ottavio Castellini for IAAF

Decathlon

1. Tomas Dvorak (CZE) p.8738
(10.71 – 7.77 – 16.43 – 2.00 – 48.21 / 13.85 – 46.54 – 4.80 – 68.66 – 4:33.99)
2. Erki Nool (EST) p.8460
(10.86 – 7.79 – 14.23 – 2.00 – 47.30 / 14.66 – 39.67 – 5.40 – 64.23 – 4:39.00)
3. Lev Lobodin (RUS) p.8427
(10.75 – 7.56 – 15.72 – 2.06 – 48.87 / 13.94 – 45.05 – 5.10 – 52.14 – 4:38.63)
4. Roman Sebrle (CZE) p.8426
5. Chiel Warners (NED) p.8363
6. Klaus Isenkenmeier (GER) p.8274
7. Thomas Tebbich (AUT) p.8039
8. David Mewes (GER) p.8018

Heptathlon
1. LeShundra Nathan (USA) p.6577
(13.28 – 1.76 – 14.74 – 24.23 / 6.59 – 50.08 – 2:16.92)
2. Irina Belova (RUS) p.6467
(13.57 – 1.76 – 13.27 – 23.81 / 6.47 – 44.64 – 2:07.52)
3. Karin Ertl (GER) p.6332
(13.62 – 1.82 – 13.90 – 24.02 / 6.27 – 44.44 – 2:18.57)
4. Sheila Burrell (USA) p.6261
5. Natalya Roshchupkina (RUS) p.6219
6. Mona Steigauf (GER) p.6146
7. Urszula Wlodarczyk (POL) p.6096
8. Gertrud Bacher (ITA) p.6093