Andrei Krauchanka at the 2013 Multistars in Florence (© Organisers)
Belarus’s Andrei Krauchanka set a world-leading mark of 8390 points in the men’s decathlon at the Multistars Firenze Trofeo Zerneri Acciai, the opening meeting of the 2013 IAAF Combined Events Challenge, at the Luigi Ridolfi stadium in Florence on Friday (3).
The 2008 Olympic silver medallist also improved upon the previous meeting record of 8339, which had been held by Czech Republic’s Jiri Ryba since he won the 2000 edition of the famous combined events meeting.
The women’s heptathlon was a little less spectacular but the Netherlands’ Anouk Vetter, who was in first place overnight with 3553, followed in the footsteps of Krauchanka and stayed in front throughout the second day before emerging triumphant with 5872.
Krauchanka, who in addition to his medal in Beijing also won the 2011 European indoor title, picked up where he left off after leading at the end of the first day by winning the 110m hurdles in 14.11 for an additional 960 points.
The hurdles did not produce any changes to the top three from overnight, with Krauchanka first with 5185 ahead of Poland’s Pawel Wiesolek, who clocked 15.20, second with 4939 and Britain’s 21-year-old Ashley Bryant third with 4889.
The combined events exponent from Belarus then collected his fourth individual victory, winning the discus with a personal best of 46.04m for 788 points to increased his lead to 353 over Wiesiolek, with the pair having 5973 and 5620 points respectively.
After seven events, Krauchanka was looking at a potential score in excess of 8400, and he continued his solid compettion after two years of injuries by being the best in the pole vault when going over 5.05m to move his total along to 6899 after eight events and put even more distance between himself and his Polish rival.
Krauchanka’s string of wins came to an end when Bryant set a javelin meeting record with 70.42m to overtake Wiesolek for second place with 7241 points, but Krauchanka sent his implement out to 60.59m to give himself a comfortable lead with 7646.
He finished off his two days in Italy with a highly satisfactory 1500m in 4:30.11, his fastest time for five years, to become the only man to score higher than 8000 in Florence with his winning total of 8390. Bryant improved his 1500m best by a huge margin when clocking 4:30:04 and improved his decathlon best by 148 points with 7985, while Wiesiolek smashed his lifetime best by 385 to finish third with 7727.
“I'm pleased with my competition after undergoing surgery in Finland (in July 2012)," said Krauchanka. "My coach and I do not have big plans but we expect to return to top shape next year. I will compete at the end of May in Gotzis."
Vetter managed to successfully defend her overnight leading position after leaping 5.55m in the long jump, but her lead was reduced to 109 points. The big surprise in the first event of the second day came from Belgium’s Marjolen Lindemann, who climbed from seventh to second place thanks to her 6.11m jump.
Sadly, Brazil’s world junior bronze medallist Tamara De Souza who had been lying third after four events, pulled out injured before the long jump.
Vetter, still just 20, then improved her javelin best to an outstanding 53.10m for 930 points, her third personal best of the competition, to increase her total to 5188 and her lead grew to 385 points over her nearest rival, compatriot Nadine Visser who moved back into to second with a throw of 39.07m.
Tiredness took over Vetter and she trudged around the 800m in 2:30.69 but it was enough to wrap up the competition with a total of 5872, more than 100 points higher than her previous best.
Britain’s Jo Rowland came through strongly on the second day and ran 2:17:75 to finish runner-up after seven events with 5638, while 18-year-old Visser finished third with 5638.
“The hurdles, high jump and shot put were very good," said Vetter. "The 200m was all right although I was slowed by a knee problem. In the 800m I was empty but I really enjoyed the competition and the atmosphere in Florence. It was too much for me."
“My main goal is the European Under-23 Championships in Tampere (Finland)," she added. "Combined events are very strong (in the Netherlands) at the moment, especially thanks to the recent results of Sintnicolaas and Schippers because we have great coaches."
Florence marked a new era for the Multistars meeting. The second day of Italy’s leading combined events competition was capped by a series of invitational competitions held in a highly enjoyable atmosphere.
The highlight was an Italian 300m hurdles best set by Cuban-born Yadisleidy Pedroso, who clocked 39.09 for the second-fastest time ever in the rarely-run event, just 0.18 behind the world best set in 2011 by Olympic 400m hurdles bronze medallist Zuzana Hejnova.
Italy’s former Olympic and European silver medallist Nicola Vizzoni received plenty of support from his local fans and won the men’s hammer with 74.87m.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF