Niklas Kaul competes in Gotzis (© AFP / Getty Images)
Germany’s Niklas Kaul will be among the athletes looking to secure an Olympic spot when the World Athletics Challenge – Combined Events moves on to the Stadtwerke Ratingen Mehrkampf-Meeting on 19-20 June.
The qualification period for combined events ends on 29 June, with the standards being 8350 points for the decathlon and 6420 points for the heptathlon.
Decathletes look to make their mark
Kaul has the standard for Tokyo thanks to his 8691-point PB to win the world title in Doha in 2019, but having decided not to compete in 2020, and following the elbow surgery he underwent that year, the 23-year-old is keen to make a statement and prove his form in Ratingen. He returned to decathlon action for the first time since Doha in Götzis, scoring 8263 to finish fifth.
His compatriot Kai Kazmirek, the 2017 world bronze medallist, is another who has the standard from 2019 having scored 8444 to win in Ratingen and will be looking to get close to that to secure a spot for Tokyo.
Also among those fighting for places on Germany’s Olympic team will be 2016 world indoor heptathlon bronze medallist Mathias Brugger, who set his PB of 8304 points in 2018, and Tim Nowak, whose best is 8229 from 2018.
As well as the 11 athletes competing on home soil, the event will feature nine international decathletes including Ukraine’s 2009 world bronze medallist Oleksiy Kasyanov, Japan’s Asian champion Keisuke Ushiro and Sweden’s Fredrik Samuelsson.
Weissenberg and Grimm seek standard
Although she also has the Tokyo standard with the 6426-point score she achieved in 2019, Germany's 2017 world heptathlon silver medallist Carolin Schafer had been planning to compete in Ratingen to demonstrate her form. However, unexpected vaccination side effects have disrupted her preparation and she will no longer compete.
Among those in action will be Austrian record-holder Verena Mayr, who won world bronze in 2019 as Verena Preiner, and Austria’s world indoor pentathlon silver medallist Ivona Dadic, who both have the Tokyo entry standard from 2019.
Others with the standard in their sights will be Germany’s European U23 silver medallist Sophie Weissenberg and Vanessa Grimm, who set a PB of 6316 points to finish fifth in Götzis at the end of last month.