Belarus’ Andrei Krauchanka held a 127 point lead over his main rival, Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Karpov, with a score of 4307 points in the Decathlon after the end of the first day of TNT Express meeting in the Czech town of Kladno, part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, on Saturday.
The Heptathlon leader after four events is Ukraine’s Hanna Melnychenko, who had 3834 points overnight.
Krauchanka started with a modest 100m in 11.23 but then flew out to 7.64m in Long Jump, the 2008 Olympic Games silver medallist’s best distance in this event since 2010.
“That was my best result of the day,” he said. “Last year I got injured doing Long Jump before the Olympics and, after surgery, I was a little bit afraid of that event. Now I am not scared anymore,” added Krauchanka, who was the best long jumper from all 15 decathletes in this event.
In the Shot Put Krauchanka lost only to Karpov, who sent his implement out to 16.21m, with an outdoor personal best of 14.96m. In fact, he sent the shot further than his previous best of 14.76m on all three of his attempts.
Krauchanka finished his first day with 2.09m in High Jump, again his best mark outdoors for three years, and 49.17 in the 400m.
“I am satisfied with my results, because I am doing better than in Firenze one month ago,” reflected Krauchanka reflected, knowing that he was 82 points better than his first day score from the opening leg of 2013 IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
In Kladno, Krauchanka achieved better results than in Firenze in all events except for the 100m.
“My goal for Sunday is to improve my season’s best,” added Krauchanka, who scored 8390 points in Firenze. He is currently second on the 2013 world list with that result.
Krauchanka is competing for the third time in Kladno. “But I didn´t finish in either of the previous ones, so I am hoping to change that this year,” said Krauchanka, with a smile.
Second at halfway point is last year´s winner from Kladno, Dmitriy Karpov, who had 4180 points.
“I am not happy. My long jump was very bad,” he commented. “But 48.95 over 400m is a good results for me, so I hope that in the second day I will do better.”
The other competitor over 4000 points at the halfway point is Poland’s Pawel Wiesolek, who is third with 4034 points.
Sadly, one of the favourites, Serbia’s Mihail Dudaš, had to withdraw with a slight ankle injury after winning 100m in 10.74 and finishing second in the Long Jump with 7.32m.
Melnychenko ahead from the Hurdles gun
The Heptathlon promises to be a dramatic competition in the final three events on Sunday as the top three are separated by only 148 points after a sunny first day in the Sletste stadium.
Melnychenko, the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships Pentathlon bronze medallist, took the lead after the opening 100m Hurdles and never relinquished first place.
Poland’s Karolina Tyminska is 50 points behind with 3784 points, while Czech Republic’s 2012 winner in Kladno Eliska Klucinova is third with 3686 points.
“I am happy, because I am doing better than in Götzis,” compared Melnychenko.
Two weeks ago, she was third overnight with 3740 points but did better in Kladno with marks in the 100m Hurdles of 13.26, a 1.80m High Jump and 200m best of 24.51.
“I am enjoying competing here in Kladno. It’s a nice stadium, friendly people, good weather,” added Melnychenko.
Tyminska had a great second part of the day as she won the Shot Put with 14.32m and 200m in 23.69).
Klucinova is only six points short of her overnight score in Kladno from 12 months ago, when she eventually improved the national record to 6283 points.
“I am positively surprised, especially with my High Jump (1.80) and my season best of 200m (24.73). I feel a bit tired but my sister is a great physio, so she will give me some energy,” commented Klucinova.
Behind her in fourth place is Belarus’ Katsiaryna Netsviatayeva with 3585 points.
Michal Osoba for IAAF