News10 May 2010

Arnold and Goncharova prevail in Desenzano del Garda – IAAF Combined Events Challenge


(© Lorenzo Sampaolo)

Desenzano del Garda, ItalyJake Arnold scored a back-to-back win in the Multistars in Desenzano del Garda on Sunday (9) tallying 8141 points to beat 2009 World silver medallist and 2008 Olympic bronze winner Leonel Suarez from Cuba (8112) in a competition which remained wide open until the final event.

Marina Goncharova from Russia took the win in the Heptathlon with 6008 points beating former IAAF World bronze medallist Margaret Simpson from Ghana (5929) and World Championships fifth placer Hanna Melnichenko from Ukraine (5895).
Arnold successfully defends - Decathlon

The overnight leader, Yordanis Garcia from Cuba, managed to defend his overnight leading position after clocking 14.48 in the 110m but last year’s Desenzano winner Arnold won the high hurdles event with 14.22 (945 points) to clos the gap on the young Cuban from 107 to 74 points after the sixth discipline. After six events, Garcia led with 5026 points over Arnold (4952 points) and Suarez who clocked 14.71 and ranked third with 4889 points.

Arnold continued the second day on a high note with a win in the discus with a solid 48.80m release for 845 points, which gave him the overall lead with 5797 points ahead of Garcia (44.87m in the discus) by just seven points. Suarez threw 45.16m and kept a slight margin over Austrian Roland Schwarzl who threw 47.52m and reduced his gap on the Cuban to just 25 points (5659 to 5634).

Former NCAA champion Arnold continued his solid second day with a win in his favourite event, the Pole Vault, with a 5.15m clearance (957 points). After the Pole Vault Arnold increased his lead over Garcia to 99 points (6754 to 6655 points). Schwarzl vaulted 4.75m and went into third place with 6468 points, five more than Suarez who cleared 4.65m.

Arnold maintained his lead after spearing the javelin to 56.46m (716 points) in a rain-soaked competition, although Garcia threw the implement to 58.53m reducing his gap to 68 points (7439 to 7371 points). Suarez won the javelin with 66.11m (830 points), which was below-par compared to his extraordinary standards, as he boasts an impressive 77.47m PB, but enough to overtake Schwarzl (53.95m) for third place with 7293 to 7115 points.

In the final 1500m, run in rainy conditions, Suarez who holds an event PB of 4:27, gave everything in the attempt to clinch the Multistars title. The Cuban set a new PB running 4:18.94 on the heels of  winner Gael Querin from France who crossed the finish line in a good 4:14.97. Suarez managed to overtake his compatriot Garcia for second place but it was not enough to strip the overall win from Arnold who managed to defend his title by just 29 points (8141 to 8112 points) after clocking 4:36.50. Garcia clocked 4:40.49 and finished third with 8048 points.

“It came down to the end,” Arnold said. “I set my PB in the shot put, and the pole vault was also very good. A headwind affected the long jump but I really enjoy competing in Desenzano and I want to come back next year.  It was my third time here. The atmosphere is very friendly.”

“I am now going to Gotzis to compete against the best decathletes in the world,” Arnold added. “Then I will take part in the US Champs and after that I will let my body get a bit of rest. My long-term goal is to make the team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.”

The long flight from Cuba probably took its toll on Suarez and Garcia who arrived in Desenzano after midnight just a few hours before the first day of competition. “I did not achieve a good result but I am recovering from the long travel. We will now train in Italy for two weeks to prepare for Gotzis where I hope to reach the results I set for this year,” said Suarez.

Goncharova lone 6000pt scorer - Heptathlon

Seventeen-year-old Dafne Schippers from the Netherlands, the surprising overnight leader, improved her PB in the Long Jump to 6.26m despite a headwind of -1.2 m/s and increased her lead over Ukrainian Hanna Melnychenko from 14 to 57 points (4469 to 4412 points). Marina Goncharova from Russia, seventh at the World Indoor Championships in Doha, was below-par compared to her standards jumping 6.00m (43cm off her PB). The Russian defended her third place by just six points (4345 to 4339 points) over Italian Francesca Doveri who jumped 5.99m, missing her PB by 13cm. Three-time Multistars winner Margaret Simpson, the World bronze medallist in Helsinki 2005, remained in fifth place with 4281 points after leaping to 5.97m.

The javelin produced a major change to the overall ranking. Simpson threw 50.59m (872 points) in her favourite event finishing second to Greek Sofia Ifadidou who won with 51.53m (890 points). As a result Simpson took the overall lead with 5153 points ahead of Goncharova, who speared the javelin to 44.32m and went to second place with 5095 points. Melnychenko lost valuable points after a throw of just 39.86m and moved back into third place with 5077 points. Schippers improved her PB to 36.51m but faded into fourth place with 5069 points ahead of Doveri, who lost one position following her 35.21m best effort.

Goncharova needed to beat Simpson by six seconds in the 800m to take the overall win. It was within the reach for the 24-year-old Russian who has a PB of 2:10:31, while Simpson’s PB is 2:21.71.

Goncharova started strongly in the lead from the beginning, while Simpson was well back. The Russian clocked 2:13.60 and clinched the Multistars title with 6008 points, the only athlete on the day to crack the 6000-point barrier. Simpson, on the return from maternity leave, finished second with 5929 points ahead of Melnychenko (5895 points), Schippers (5882 points) and Doveri (5816 points).

Goncharova began with athletics when she was 12, first as a 400 and 800m runner before moving to the combined events in 2001. She made her debut on the international stage in 2003 when she finished third at the World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke, Canada. She finished sixth at the World Junior Championships in Grosseto in 2004, fifth at the European Under 23 Championships in Debrecen and seventh at the 2010 World Indoor Championships in Doha in the pentathlon. Her PBs are 6319 points set in Gotzis in 2008 and 4605 points in the indoor pentathlon set in Penza in 2010.

“I produced good results in most of the events without ups and downs,” Goncharova said. “I am a bit disappointed with the long jump but overall it was a good competition for me.”

Next up for the Russian will be Gotzis at the end of the month and then, she hopes, the European Championships. ‘I will try to qualify for the European Championships in Barcelona but I know that the competition to make the Russian team will be very tough.”

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF

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