Ilya Shkurenev in the decathlon pole vault (© Getty Images)
Russia’s Ilya Shkurenev held on to his overnight lead in the decathlon at the European Cup Combined Events Super League in Aubagne on Sunday (5) to win the decathlon with 8378, the second-best score of his career.
All three divisions of the competition formed part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge and the best heptathlon performance of the weekend came in the second league, the lowest division, where Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece broke her own Latvian record with 6470.
While the super league was held in the French town of Aubagne, both the first and second leagues of the competition were held in Inowroclaw.
Russia successfully defended their overall title with a score of 41,700. Hosts France finished second in the team competition with 40,724 while Estonia was third with 39,875.
After setting three outdoor PBs on Saturday, Shkurenev started the second day with the fastest time in the 110m hurdles, clocking 14.32 to extend his lead over Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov.
Kasyanov responded in the discus, throwing 40cm farther than Shurenev with 46.39m, but it wasn’t enough to take the overall lead from the Russian.
The pole vault made all the difference. Shkurenev, competing in what is his best event, cleared a season’s best of 5.30m in the pole vault to add another 1004 points to his tally, making his lead an unassailable one.
Shkurenev then threw 56.93m in the javelin, more than eight metres shy of Czech Marek Lukas’s leading throw but eight metres farther than Kasyanov’s best, to maintain his overall lead going into the 1500m.
The European indoor champion could afford to ease off slightly in the 1500m, running it in 4:39.51 to finish 10th in his heat. He ended the competition with a score of 8378 to win by 273 points, adding 35 points to his season’s best.
Kasyanov finished second with 8105, 98 points ahead of France’s Romain Barras. Along with the three podium finishers, France’s Florian Geffrouais set a season’s best in fourth, scoring 7970.
Like fellow overnight leader Shkurenev, Ukraine’s Alina Fodorova maintained pole position until the end of the competition by producing the leading mark in the first event of the second day.
The world indoor bronze medallist leapt 6.31m in the long jump to get within two centimetres of her lifetime best.
But her overall lead took a bit of a dent in the penultimate event, the javelin. The 25-year-old could only manage 35.72m, while Estonia’s Grit Sadeiko unleashed a PB of 50.68m. Fodorova’s 344-point lead had been reduced to 56 with just the 800m left to go.
The Ukrainian pulled out a PB when it mattered most, clocking 2:14.77 in the final event to finish ahead of Sadeiko and hold on to the lead, bringing her score to a PB of 6278.
Sadeiko recorded the second-best time of her career, 2:16.65, to end the weekend with a season’s best of 6196, just 25 points shy of her own national record set in 2013.
Russia’s Anna Blank, who won the 800m in 2:11.88, was the only other heptathlete to surpass 6000 points, scoring 6037 in third place.
Tyminska and Roe maintain their leads
Just like the super league winners, Norway’s Martin Roe and Poland’s Karolina Tyminska ended the second day in much the same was as they did the first, topping the decathlon and heptathlon leader boards respectively at the first league competition in Inowroclaw.
Switzerland’s Linda Zublin ended the first day in fifth place in the heptathlon, 272 points behind Tyminska. She moved into third after producing a PB of 6.33m in the long jump and then topped the javelin standings with 48.12m, comfortably ahead of Tyminska’s 36.34m as the gap between the pair had been reduced to 29 points.
Tyminska pulled it back in the 800m, though, running 2:11.44 to Zublin’s 2:18.38, winning the competition with a season’s best of 6174. Zublin also produced her best score of 2015, tallying 6047 for second place.
In a close team competition, Switzerland won the first league with 39,694 from Poland (39,229) and Spain (39,069).
Roe scored a PB of 7875 in the decathlon, clocking a big season’s best of 4:35.13 in the 1500m to take back the lead from Spain’s Pau Tonneson, who went into the lead after clearing 5.20m in the pole vault. Tonneson, the NCAA silver medallist, finished second with 7841 while Poland’s Pawel Wiesiolek was third with 7767.
Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece won the second league heptathlon by more than 500 points, breaking her own national record for the second time this year to win with 6470.
The 2012 European silver medallist had a 407-point lead overnight, having produced the best marks in three of the four events on the first day.
She continued in much the same vein on day two, topping the long jump with 6.27m. As expected, Greece’s Sofia Yfantidou produced the best throw of the day in the javelin, throwing 54.77m, while Ikauniece was next best with 49.97m.
The 23-year-old ended her series with 2:13.95 in the 800m, giving her a final score of 6470 and adding 34 points to the national record she set in Gotzis earlier this year. Yfantidou was second with 5945.
Joli Koivu led a Finnish 1-2 in the decathlon. He scored a PB of 7462 to finish more than 200 points in front of team-mate Tero Ojala.
Finland topped the second league standings with 36,948 with Portugal second and Latvia third.
As one of just three men to have contested three competitions within the series, Poland’s Pawel Wiesiolek now leads the IAAF Combined Events Challenge decathlon standings with 23,700.
But with a current total of 16,721, Shkurenev is the third best among the decathletes who have contested just two competitions within the challenge. Ikauniece, meanwhile, is best of the heptathletes who have competed twice within the challenge. Her current total is 12,906.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF