Damian Warner in Gotzis (© Jean Pierre Durand)
Canada’s multiple global medallist Damian Warner will aim to become the Hypo Meeting’s first six-time winner when he competes at the World Athletics Challenge – Combined Events meeting in Götzis, Austria, on 29-30 May.
But with the decathlon field also featuring the likes of Germany’s world champion Niklas Kaul and world silver medallist Maicel Uibo of Estonia, Warner will have to work hard to make history, having joined Roman Sebrle and Carolina Kluft in winning five times following his 2019 victory.
The Canadian set his national record of 8795 points when winning the 2018 edition of the Götzis event, having first triumphed in 2013 before his four consecutive wins between 2016 and 2019. During that time he also claimed world silver in 2015 and bronze in 2013 and 2019, as well as Olympic bronze in 2016 and world indoor heptathlon silver in 2018.
Kaul, meanwhile, set a PB of 8691 points to win the world title in 2019 and this will be his first decathlon since that performance in Doha. He returns to the Hypo Meeting for the third time, following a sixth-place finish in 2018 and a fourth-place finish in 2019.
Uibo, who scored a PB of 8604 in Doha, joins his fellow 2019 world medallists and will be looking to build on his runner-up finish in 2018 and third place in 2019.
Germany’s 2015 winner Kai Kazmirek, who claimed world bronze in 2017, also returns, as do Canada’s world fifth-placer Pierce LePage, who makes his second Hypo Meeting appearance, and Belgium’s 2016 European champion Thomas van der Plaetsen.
Sweden’s Fredrik Samuelsson, who wants to give his home-based 'Yellow Wall' a show to enjoy, will be competing at the event for the fifth time.
Rodriguez and Vetter look to make their mark
The USA’s Erica Bougard and Kendell Williams are among the leading names in the heptathlon field as they too return to multi events action for the first time since their respective fourth and fifth-place finishes at the World Athletics Championships in Doha.
Bougard set her PB of 6725 points when finishing third at the 2018 edition of the Hypo Meeting, while Williams has a best of 6610 from 2019 and recently joined the seven-metre club in the long jump, soaring out to a lifetime best of exactly 7.00m in Georgia in April. She also backed that up with marks of 6.94m and 6.77m.
Among those looking to achieve the Olympic qualifying mark of 6420 points will be Cuba’s 2018 world indoor pentathlon bronze medallist Yorgelis Rodriguez, who set the national record with her 6742 score when finishing second in Götzis in 2018.
Another is Dutch record-holder with 6636 points Anouk Vetter, the 2017 world bronze medallist and 2016 European champion who recently explained how her indoor performances had left her feeling “back in the game” after setbacks including injury.
They will be joined in Götzis by athletes including Hungary’s Xenia Krizsan, who finished third at the last edition of the meeting in 2019, plus Burkina Faso’s Marthe Koala and Nadine Broersen of the Netherlands.
Germany’s Carolin Schäfer had been set to make her eighth Hypo Meeting appearance but announced on social media that "unexpected side effects" from her vaccination had affected her training.
The World Athletics Heritage Plaque which was awarded to the Hypo Meeting in 2019 will be unveiled by European Athletics Council Member Erich Teigamagi on the first day of the event.