Nadine Broersen in the heptathlon high jump (© Getty Images)
With the series having concluded at the recent Asian Games, Germany’s Rico Freimuth and Nadine Broersen of the Netherlands ended the year as the overall winners of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
Both athletes made a bit of history too as Freimuth became the first German man to win the men’s Combined Events Challenge, while Broersen became the first Dutch winner of the series.
Freimuth may have missed out on a medal at the European Championships, but his season-long consistency paid off in the Combined Events Challenge as he notched up three scores in excess of 8300 points.
He opened the season with a third-place finish in Gotzis with 8317, then recorded a season’s best of 8356 when winning in Ratingen. Two months later he finished seventh at the European Championships with a score of 8308, bringing his 2014 points total to 24,981.
That proved to be more than enough to win as Eelco Sintnicolaas was 186 points behind in second place. The Dutchman won in Florence with 8161 and then at the European Cup Combined Events with 8156 before setting a season’s best of 8478 at the European Championships.
A late-season score of 7945 in Talence propelled Yordani Garcia into third place overall. Earlier in the season the Cuban had scored 8299 in Gotzis and 8179 to win the Pan-American Combined Events Cup.
Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov was just 46 points behind in fourth place overall, while Ashley Bryant recorded the highest ever finish by a British man in the Combined Events Challenge by placing fifth.
In winning the women’s Combined Events Challenge, Broersen earned her second big victory of 2014, having won the world indoor title earlier in the year.
That performance didn’t count towards the standings in the challenge, but it didn’t matter as she produced three big heptathlon scores throughout the season to end the series with a 409-point lead.
A fourth-place finish in Gotzis with 6536 was followed by a PB of 6539 to win the European Cup Combined Events. She then took silver at the European Championships with 6498.
Talence winner Carolin Schafer was also extremely consistent with just 12 points separating her three heptathlon performances in 2014. The German scored 6386 in Gotzis, 6395 at the European Championships and then 6383 in Talence to finish second in the series.
Compatriot Lilli Schwarzkopf made a strong return from long-term injury to finish third in the challenge. The Olympic silver medallist’s tally was boosted was a win in Ratingen with 6426.
Kladno winner Eliska Klucinova finished fourth overall, more than 300 points ahead of Belarusian Yana Maksimava.
To be eligible in the final rankings, athletes must score points in at least three competitions within the series. It means that world leaders Andrei Krauchanka and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who competed in just one combined events competition each, didn’t figure in the final standings. The same applies for Gotzis winner Trey Hardee and Commonwealth champion Brianne Theisen-Eaton.