Brianne Theisen-Eaton leads the heptathlon 800m from Claudia Rath at the IAAF World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Beijing, China

Preview: women’s heptathlon – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015

In 2013, 6586 points were enough for Hanna Kasyanova to win in Moscow. The Ukrainian has been entered to defend her title in Beijing, but the 32-year-old’s results this year have not been the kind needed for a medal in Beijing.

Instead, the favourite is Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who is also the world leader with her 6808 Canadian record from Gotzis in June. The world silver medallist has scored 250 points more than anyone else this season; although there are a few athteles who look set to improve on their season’s best in Beijing, so too does Theisen-Eaton. Since Gotzis, the 26-year-old has been in excellent form and might able to add a few points to her PB.

Olympic champion and 2009 world champion Jessica Ennis-Hill is back in action after the birth of son Reggie last summer. The 29-year-old made a late decision to compete in Beijing and her latest results, including a 12.79 100m hurdles against a headwind in chilly condition in London, suggest she is in much better shape than when she scored 6520 to finish fourth in Gotzis.

But if the Briton hopes to challenge for gold, Ennis-Hill will still have to be close to her best, because she has bettered Theisen-Eaton’s 6808 on just three occasions during her whole career.

Dafne Schippers, who took the bronze medal in Moscow, is only competing in the sprints in Beijing, but Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who finished fifth in Moscow, is entered. But the 22-year-old has not competed in a heptathlon this season and has been hampered by niggling injuries.

The Briton was in great shape indoors, winning the pentathlon at the European Indoor Championships with a national indoor record of 5000. At that point it seemed as though she would be a medal favourite in Beijing, but the first few events in Beijing will reveal how her form has progressed in recent weeks.

As was the case in Moscow, it will be tight for the bronze medal. Nadine Broersen finished 10th in Moscow after hitting a hurdle, but has come a long way since. The 25-year-old dutchwoman won the world indoor title in 2014 and has scored a season’s best of 6531 in Gotzis in May.

Germany’s Carolin Schafer finished just ahead of Broersen in Gotzis with a PB of 6547 and will be competing in her first global championships. She was fourth at the 2014 European Championships and 10th in the same competition two years before.

Twenty-year-old Nadine Visser of the Netherlands will be contesting her first heptathlon at a senior championships. Before setting a big PB of 6467 in Gotzis this year, she finished third at the 2014 World Junior Championships.

Claudia Rath narrowly lost the bronze in 2013 and finished fourth, but she has another try at the medals in Beijing. The German scored 6458 points in Gotzis, but was some way off that form in Ratingen more recently, scoring 6290.

Because the event is so open, there are more names to be considered. Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam has a best of 6412, Barbara Nwaba won the US Championships with 6500, and Laura Ikauniece-Admidiņa has broken her own Latvian record this season with 6470.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF