Previews16 May 2024

Global medallists head strong fields for Götzis


Damian Warner in the decathlon discus in Gotzis (© AFP / Getty Images)

Olympic champion Damian Warner, Olympic silver medallist Anouk Vetter and their fellow global medallists Ashley Moloney, Emma Oosterwegel and Lindon Victor form part of the formidable fields set for the Hypomeeting in Götzis, this season’s third World Athletics Combined Events Tour Gold meeting, this weekend (18-19).

The world-class event will be a key step for many on the road to Rome and path to Paris, with athletes preparing for the European Championships in Italy and the Olympic Games in the French capital.

Warner continues to work towards his Olympic title defence by returning to compete at the Mösle-Stadium for the 11th time, as a seven-time Hypomeeting decathlon winner.

After six successive victories, the Canadian 34-year-old finished runner-up to his compatriot Pierce LePage last year and that top two was repeated at the World Championships in Budapest three months later as LePage took the title ahead of Warner and Grenada’s Lindon Victor.

Now Warner is back in Götzis as a four-time world medallist and he’ll renew his rivalry with Victor, who is also in the line-up.

Victor has had one 400m outing so far this year, while Warner’s performances at the Bryan Clay Invitational last month included a 13.65 110m hurdles, 15.15m shot put and 4.80m pole vault.

Moloney, meanwhile, has already completed a decathlon this year and he goes on the hunt for a performance that will secure him a place for Paris. The 24-year-old, who set his Oceanian record of 8649 to win his Olympic bronze in Tokyo, competed in Götzis last year but withdrew before the 1500m, while his campaign at the World Championships in Budapest also came to an early end. He finished 13th with 8038 on his debut in Götzis in 2019, receiving the 'rookie of the meeting' award.

Two other athletes on the entry list have also surpassed 8400 points in their careers so far: Switzerland’s Simon Ehammer and Estonia’s Johannes Erm. After deciding to focus on the long jump in Budapest, where he finished ninth, Ehammer rebounded to win the Diamond League title in the individual discipline at the end of the season. He returned to global combined events action at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March, where he won the heptathlon with a national record score of 6418.

Erm was also in PB form in Glasgow and his 6340 points earned him world indoor bronze.

In Götzis they will be joined by Erm’s compatriot Risto Lillemets, the European indoor bronze medallist who was second at the Multistars last month, plus Brazil’s South American champion Jose Fernando Ferreira Santana, USA’s Devon Williams and Germany’s Tim Nowak.

Can Vetter regain heptathlon crown?

After winning the Hypomeeting heptathlon title for the first time in 2022, Vetter withdrew during her title defence last year as a precaution due to achilles discomfort.

She was back in medal-winning form in Budapest as she bagged bronze to go with the world silver and bronze medals she had already claimed in Oregon and London, respectively, as well as her Olympic silver from Tokyo.

In Götzis two years ago, Vetter became the first Dutch heptathlon winner in the event’s history with a then national record score of 6693. She improved again less than two months later, scoring 6867 to secure her world silver in Oregon.

She’s not the only Olympic medallist in action, however, as she faces her compatriot Oosterwegel, who claimed bronze in Tokyo and then finished fifth at the World Championships in Budapest. Her PB is the 6590 she set in Tokyo.

USA’s Taliyah Brooks recently matched her PB of 6330 to retain her Multistars title and four weeks on she is back in action. She’ll be joined by her compatriots Erica Bougard and Annie Kunz, who have both surpassed 6500 in their careers so far, plus Michelle Atherley and Allie Jones.

Switzerland’s Annik Kalin and Austria’s Ivona Dadic and Verena Mayr also have 6500-plus PBs and add further strength to the field as they target performances that will put them in the running for Paris. Like Brooks, 2018 world indoor pentathlon silver medallist Dadic also contests her second heptathlon in a month. Continuing her comeback after injury, she competed at the Multistars but withdrew before the 800m. The 2019 world bronze medallist Mayr finished fifth in the pentathlon at the World Indoor Championships in March, while Kalin – the world indoor long jump fifth-place finisher in Glasgow – is back in multi events action after finishing runner-up at Decastar in September.

Also competing on home soil is Sarah Lagger, while others looking to make an impact will be Germany’s Sophie Weissenberg and Vanessa Grimm, and Great Britain’s Holly Mills.

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