Brian Clay on the way to his first Gotzis victory (Lorenzo Sampaolo) © Copyright

First win for Clay, Fourth for Kluft - Gotzis Report

Götzis, AustriaCompeting in heavy rains, Bryan Clay and Carolina Klüft were victorious in the Hypo Combined Events meeting in Götzis, confirming their overnight lead as competition ended on Day Two.

Despite the tough weather conditions, Clay totalled a World-leading 8677 points to beat Dimitry Karpov (8293 points) and Maurice Smith who improved his own Jamaican record to 8269 points.

Klüft also tallied a World leader with 6719 points to secure the Götzis title over 2006 World Indoor Pentathlon champion Lyudmila Blonska from the Ukraine. Blonska totalled a personal best 6448 to finish ahead of Germany’s Lilli Schwarzkopf’s 6335, also a PB.

Another quick start for Clay

Clay, the reigning World champion, again got off to a fast start by winning the 110m Hurdles in 13.74 (1008 points) edging eventual third placer Maurice Smith. The Jamaican continued his successful campaign at the beginning of second day with 13.76 in the high hurdles to collect 1006 points. The conclusion of the day’s first event did not produce significant changes in the top positions with Clay leading by 88 points over Karpov who ran 14.05, while Smith remained in third with a solid lead over Hungarian Attila Zsivoczky.

Clay, who set a Decathlon Discus World record of 55.87 during the 2005 US National Championships, produced a solid 52.21 with his second attempt after a foul on his opening throw. It was the second performance of the day behind Aleksey Sysoyev from Russia who won the discus throw with 53.40 to move up from 12th into fifth. Smith and Karpov showed their consistency throwing respectively 52.05 and 51.13 to defend their placings in the overall standing, while Clay increased his lead over Karpov to 111 points.

André Niklaus, the Reigning World Indoor champion in the Heptathlon, secured a convincing win in the Pole Vault clearing 5.10 (941 points) on his third attempt shortly before the pouring rain began to fall on the Mösle stadium, preventing him from trying his third attempt at 5.20. The German, who was ninth after the Discus Throw, literally jumped into fifth positition with a total of 6741 points, nine points behind fourth placer Zsivoczky.

Clay cleared 5.00 (910 points) which secured him a joint second place in the Pole Vault with France’s Romain Barras. Karpov cleared 4.40 in his weakest discipline, losing ground on Clay who increased his lead to 290 points (7356 points to 7066). Smith, who also cleared 4.40, remained in third 6992 points. 

Clay backed up his consistent results during the whole weekend with another impressive win in the Javelin. The US star, who holds a Javelin PB of 72.00, reached 66.47 and secured first place in the event ahead of three-time World champion Tomas Dvorak from Czech Republic (65.44) and reigning European Under-23 champion Aleksey Drozdov from Russia (64.59).
Before the final 1500m race, the gap between Clay and Karpov increased to 563 points (8192 points to 7629). Karpov, the Asian record holder with 8725 points, threw the Javelin just 48.26 metres, while Drozdov reduced his gap on Smith to just 78 points. The young Russian, who was 13th after the hurdles, had an impressive day two highlighted by 50.29 in the Discus Throw, 4.90 in the Pole Vault and 64.59 in the Javelin to move up to fourth prior to the final event. Meanwhile, Niklaus stood in fifth before the gun sounded for the 1500, one of his best events.

The young German showed his reputation as a strong 1500 runner setting the fifth fastest time of the two series. This result was enough to improve his final standing to fourth with 8239 points, just 30 points behind Smith.

A very tired Clay, who scored 8192 points before the 1500, jogged across the finish line in 5:13.47, nonetheless the confortable over-all winner.

“I was very close to break the World record (9026 set by Roman Sebrle) before the 1500 metres,” said Clay. “If I put some training in the final event I can improve the record. I set the plan with my coach to break the record at the World Championships in Osaka. If the record comes earlier, it’s okay, but my big goal is Osaka. First of all I want to be as consistent as possible.”

Klüft never pressed, pleased with improvements in throws

Klüft opened her second day leaping to 6.50, the second best performance in the Long Jump. “Carro,” as she is nicknamed in Sweden, was beaten by three centimetres by Blonska whose leap moved her into second place over all, overhauling Jessica Zelinka. The Canadian defended her provisional podium position with her 6.19 effort. Before the Javelin Throw began, Klüft had a 168 point margin over the Ukrainian.

The young Swedish star showed her recent improvement in the throwing events by spearing a new PB in the Javelin with a 50.96 effort for 879 points, the longest throw of the day. This massive improvement increased her lead over Blonska to 257 points. Behind Klüft, the German Schwarzkopf shook the overall standing, climbing from ninth to third place thanks to her second place throw of 50.58 (871 points),  but still behind Blonska, who was third in the Javelin with 46.35.

Klüft  ended the day and sealed her fourth straight Gotzis title with a 2:14.34 in the 800 to end her first Heptathlon of the year with a 6719 tally. Blonska lived up to her reputation of reigning World Indoor champion with a solid second place with 6448 points, a new career best. In third, Schwarzkopf also produced a massive improvement by adding 135 points to her previous PB of 6200. The 800 metres featured a notable 2:06.26 individual win by Poland’s Karolina Tyminska who moved from ninth into sixth with 6234 points.  

New national records were broken by Jessica Zelinka from Canada (fourth with 6314 points), Argiro Strataki from Greece (fifth with 6235 points) and Tia Hellebaut from Belgium (eighth with 6201 points).

“It’s a good start to my season. I am happy that the throw events worked out well so early in the season,” said Klüft. “I knew that I could do well in the Javelin during my warm-up. I had ups and downs in this discipline but I felt that I could produce good results. Today I felt very nervous because I have not competed for nine months. But I had fun especially in the Shot Put and the Javelin. Overall I am satisfied because I know what I have to improve in the build-up to the European Championships.”

Klüft is slated to compete in the Long Jump at Oslo’s Bislett Games on Friday, her first appearance at an IAAF Golden League meeting.

“I am very excited to go to Oslo. Other individual Long Jump competitions and the European Cup for Combined Events will follow after Oslo. In Gothenburg the heptathlon is my priority. Second in my priority list is the Long Jump. And then if I am in good shape and the other girls want me in the team I would love to compete in the 4x100,” Klüft said, sketching out her season itinerary.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF