Many expected the race for gold to be a head to head duel between Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee and the US duo lived up to pre-event predictions – after the first event at least – to sit first and second in the overall standings.
The pair were matched up in the opening heat with Hardee, the defending champion, in lane one and Eaton, the world leader, in lane three.
Eaton had recorded a blistering personal best of 10.26 in Chula Vista earlier this month and some thought he may threaten the best ever 100m performance in a Decathlon at an IAAF World Championships - Chris Huffins’ 10.34 posted some 16 years ago in Gothenburg.
Yet on an overcast morning and running into a slight headwind, Eaton had to settle for 10.44 to take the heat and snare 985 points. Hardee will be the marginally more pleased of the pair as he finished just 0.11 adrift of his countryman – and was closer to his season’s best of 10.44.
Just 22 points separate the pair going into the Long Jump. Canada’s Damian Warner finished third in the heat to stands third overall after the opening event with 961pts.
European silver medallist Eelco Sintnicolaas of the Netherlands grabbed victory in heat two in a season’s best of 10.77 for 915pts to stand sixth overall after the opening event. He punched his fist with satisfaction after crossing the line 0.07 clear of his countryman Ingmar Vos, who also set a season’s best.
A number of big name performers will be disappointed with their 100m efforts. In heat three France’s European champion Romain Barras, who has had injury issues to contend with, recorded a modest 11.20 and stands 23rd overall after the first event. Meanwhile, former European Indoor Heptathlon champion Mikk Pahapill of Estonia collected just 799pts with an 11.28 performance and is 27th.
In the final heat African record holder Larbi Bouraada of Algeria impressed to take victory in 10.89 (888pts).
The World record holder and 2007 World champion Roman Sebrle has not looked in the best shape this season and the Czech wound up fifth in a relatively modest 11.25. His 806pt total places him down in a disappointing 26th overall.
Steve Landells for the IAAF
- Ashton Eaton of the USA competes in the 100m in the men's Decathlon (Getty Images) © Copyright