Niklas Kaul has ended the first day of the decathlon in sixth place, almost 200 points behind current leader Maksim Andraloits, but the German is on course to take gold.
The world U18 champion has some of his best events yet to come – namely the javelin – and is expected to move up the leaderboard throughout the second day of the competition.
Rik Taam of the Netherlands was the early leader after clocking 10.81 in the first event, the 100m. Andraloits of Belarus was one of the best in that event too, running 10.97. Kaul was just 21st of the 23 decathletes after running 11.52, but it wasn’t far off his best ever time.
Estonia’s Johannes Erm produced the best long jump, sailing out to 7.42m to take the overall lead, but the standings changed again after the shot put as Andraloits assumed pole position thanks to his throw of 15.00m.
World U18 silver medallist Ludovic Besson topped the shot put results with 15.95m to move up to sixth overall, while Kaul made further progress after throwing 14.80m, climbing to 15th place.
A big leap in the high jump led to Kaul taking a big leap in the overall standings. His PB of 2.10m was the best mark of the day and moved him up to fifth place. Andraloits maintained the lead, though, after clearing 2.04m in the high jump. Taam was still in contention, so too was Kaul’s German teammate Jan Ruhrmann.
Andraloits ended his first day with a 49.33 clocking in the 400m to hold the overnight lead. Erm moved up the leaderboard again to second place after his 48.17 run. Kaul and Ruhrmann both ran faster than 50 seconds to keep alive their dream of a German 1-2 finish.
The day ended in heartbreak for Canada’s Nathaniel Mechler, though. He produced a big lifetime best of 47.95, but he was later disqualified for a lane infringement. Before that, he was on course for a top-eight finish.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF