Niklas Kaul’s world U20 decathlon record of 8435 has been ratified, following validation of the post-event surveys that had to be undertaken at Grosseto’s Carlo Zecchini Stadium.
The German all-rounder achieved his record mark on 23 July 2017 at the European U20 Championships in Grosseto, where he started his decathlon with marks of 11.48 in the 100m, 7.20m in the long jump, 15.37m in the shot put, 2.05m in the high jump and 48.42 in the 400m.
His day-one tally of 4170 put him in third place at the end of the first day behind Estonia’s Johannes Erm and France’s Ludovic Besson, but Kaul had some strong events to come on day two.
His second day started with 14.55 in the 110m hurdles and he followed it with 48.49m in the discus. After a 4.70m clearance in the pole vault, he moved to within 16 points of Erm, but a mighty effort of 68.05m in the javelin propelled Kaul into pole position. He ended his competition with a 4:15.52 PB in the 1500m, bringing his score to 8435.
“I’m really happy, I was not expecting to go over 8400 points – it's just amazing,” said Kaul, who went on to win the senior world decathlon title in 2019, just two years after his record-breaking feat in Grosseto. “This is the best way to end the season.”
Kaul’s mark added 38 points to the previous world U20 best of 8397, which had been set by East Germany’s Torsten Voss in Erfurt on 7 July 1982. It should be noted, however, that Voss’s score was set with the senior implements, while Kaul’s mark was achieved with the U20 implements (99cm hurdle height, 6kg shot and 1.75kg discus).
The ratification process for Kaul’s record was unusually long. The track at Grosseto’s Carlo Zecchini Stadium had been refurbished ahead of the European U20 Championships but didn’t hold a valid measurement certificate at the time of the event.
The facility was finally surveyed in November 2018 and the track was found to be in compliance. Separate surveys had to be conducted for the long jump pit and the shot put landing area, which were submitted and validated in May 2020.
The javelin runway, however, had been extended by four metres at the arc side with a temporary section which was removed after the championships and for which no specific measurement report was available. A subsequent measurement report of the original runway area was available, however, and by extrapolating the measurement data, the technical work stream confidently concluded that the javelin runway at the time of the championships would have been in keeping with World Athletics competition rules.