Day two of the inaugural boys’ decathlon at the IAAF World Youth Championships looks set for a thrilling climax tomorrow as French combined eventer Ludovic Besson holds a narrow 29-point overnight lead from USA's George Patrick, the pair having tallies of 4106 and 4077 points respectively.
Yet beware Niklas Kaul, the man with the magic javelin throwing arm.
The gifted German, the world youth leader in both the decathlon and javelin and who boasts an outstanding javelin best of 83.94m, today notably improved his high jump best by a staggering 15 centimetres and is handily placed in fifth, 149 points behind the leader.
The morning session was dominated by Estonia’s Hans-Christian Hausenberg as he opened up a handsome 121-point advantage on his nearest pursuers after two events after finishing top of the standings in both the 100m (10.93) and long jump (7.53m).
Hausenberg’s advantage was slashed to 54 points after the shot with Ludovic Besson moving into second overall thanks to the best effort of the competition, a mighty hurl of 16.92m.
However, Kaul was the biggest mover, moving up by eight places to advance into seventh overall after coming within 10 centimetres of his lifetime best with 16.08m.
With a previously credited best of 1.90m and drawn in the inferior group B, many decathletes would have fancied gaining points on Kaul in the high jump, but it was not to be.
The German cleared no fewer than nine successive heights with his first attempt and improved to 2.05m to finish the event number one and move into fourth overall. Hausenberg, who was jumping bare-footed and slipped during one attempt at 1.93m, bowed out with a best of 1.90m.
The Estonian still held a lead of 81 points after the high jump from Besson, but the 400m caused a significant reshuffle.
Besson ran a personal best of 49.93 to take a first-day lead while Hausenberg with a modest 52.44 dropped to third with an overall total of 4075, two points behind Patrick.
Kaul, probably suffering from his exertions in the high jump, ran 51.20, but he will be more than satisfied to be placed on fifth with 3957, almost 200 points up on his day-one score when he set the world-youth-leading mark, and will be the man to watch on day two.
Steve Landells for the IAAF