(© Hans van Kuijen)
Talence, FranceThe 33rd edition of the Décastar meeting in Talence, near Bordeaux started in rainy conditions. Although not the last meeting of the 2009 IAAF World Combined Events Challenge – two more meetings will be held later this year – the overall standings will not be influenced by results after the Décastar meeting.
The Challenge offers a total price purse given by the IAAF of US$202,000, equally divided for the top 8 men and women. For the winners of the Challenge US$30,000 is available.
In Decathlon, the first 2 in the standings: World champion Trey Hardee (USA) and runner up of the World championships Yordanis Garcia (CUB) finished their season after Berlin, and there is no doubt that they will keep their top positions also after this meeting.
In Heptathlon, the top position is held by German athlete, Jennifer Oeser but she is only 16 points ahead of Ukrainian Hanna Melnychenko. The most likely candidate to win the 2009 IAAF World Combined Events Challenge is Natalya Dobrynska. A score of 6254 points in Talence would be enough to take over the leading position.
Due to the raining conditions at the start of the meeting athletes could not come close to their season’s best performances in the 100m. Oleksey Kasyanov (UKR) was the fastest in 10.73sec, and only one other athlete – Andres Raja (EST) – could go-sub 11 seconds.
Kasyanov, who was the overnight leader in the Decathlon at the World championships in Berlin, again made clear that he is the strongest athlete in the field during the first day. In Long Jump he cleared an impressive 7.73m, only 7 centimetres less than in Berlin. Mikk Pahapill (EST), who had 3 foul attempts at the World Championships, jumped 7.47m this time. In his personal best Decathlon at the Olympic Games in Beijing he leapt only 7.05m, so the Estonian has made a big advance on his PB.
Belgium Hans van Alphen was next best with a 7.40m effort, 1 centimetre ahead of the 2003 World champion Tom Pappas.
After 2 events: 1. Kasyanov 1914 pts, 2. Pahapill 1765, 3. Pappas 1749
The Russian bronze medallist of Berlin, Aleksandr Pogorelov, showed again he is the strongest decathlete in Shot Put. This time his distance was 16.24m, ahead of Tom Pappas with 15.86m.
After 3 events: 1. Kasyanov 2723, 2.Pogorelov 2592, Pappas 2592
Two athletes, Pappas and Sysoyev, cleared 2.06m in High Jump, of which was Aleksey Sysoyev the event winner. Pappas was better than the overall leader, Kasyanov, by 6 centimetres.
After 4 events: 1. Kasyanov 3526, 2. Pappas 3451, 3. Pogorelov 3423
In the 400m, Oleksey Kasyanov won this third event of the day. With his winning time of 48.62 seconds he totalled 4405 points for the day, 150 points less than he managed at the World championships. But of his main competitors, statistically five have stronger second days.
After 5 events: 1. Kasyanov 4405, 2. Pappas 4267, 3. Pogorelov 4196
Local favourite, Romain Barras, is already more than 300 points behind his best first day score of this season. The 25th 8000 score of his career is now out of sight for this season.
As in the Decathlon also at the start of Heptathlon it was still raining in the Bordeaux region. The first event, 100m Hurdles, was won by Hanna Melnychenko. She is one of the three Ukrainian athletes, who dominated the Challenge meeting in Götzis- Austria, earlier this year. At the World championships in Berlin they all could not win a medal and finished 4th, 5th and 6th. Today Melnychenko with a 13.57sec run was ahead of US-athlete Diana Pickler with 13.60.
In the High Jump, the Olympic champion Natalya Dobrynska showed again her abilities in passing 1.86m, so equalling her best performance in this event set in 2006 at the European championships.
The best performance in this event today was produced by former high jumper Sharon Day (USA) who cleared 1.89m. And with Lyudmyla Yosypenko also clearing 1.86m it was a high level competition.
After 2 events: 1. Yosypenko 2.077, 2. Day 2063, 3. Pickler 2052
The Olympic champion Natalya Dobrynska doesn’t seem to be showing the same tiredness as the rest of her opponents at the end of the season. In the Shot Put she produced 16.48m, more than 2.5m ahead of the second athlete, Sonja Kesselschläger. After 3 events Dobrynska was already 162 points ahead of her season’s best performance, set in Götzis end of May.
After 3 events: 1. Dobrynska 2995, 2. Day 2801, 3. Yosypenko 2798
The final event of the first day, the 200m went to Lyudmyla Yosypenko with a winning time of 24.02sec and she was far ahead of the other competitors and climbed to second place after the end of the first day.
After 4 events: 1. Dobrynska 3881, 2. Yosypenko 3777, 3. Day 3687
Two athletes are making their career farewells. German, Sonja Kesselschläger and France’s Marie Collonvillé. For Collonvillé it is very special to have this career end in Talence. It is her 14th appearance in this meeting. “I could not have a better place to stop where this public has supported me so much during these years. It is great for me to have my farewell here.”
Hans van Kuijen for the IAAF
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