Previews11 Jun 2021

Tokyo marks the target for athletes in Arona


French heptathlete Antoinette Nana Djimou (© AFP/Getty Images)

Athletes will have Olympic qualification in mind when they head to the Meeting Internacional Arona in Tenerife on 12-13 June.

The Canary Islands competition made its debut as part of the World Athletics Challenge – Combined Events in 2019 and this 10th edition also gives athletes the opportunity to achieve standards for the Games in Tokyo ahead of the qualification period for combined events ending on 29 June.

Nana Djimou and Zheng in heptathlon

Among those seeking the 6420-point heptathlon standard for Tokyo will be France’s Antoinette Nana Djimou and China’s Zheng Ninali.

Three-time Olympian Nana Djimou finished fourth at the London 2012 Olympics and also has three top eight places at the World Athletics Championships – in 2009, 2011 and 2013 – to her name. She will be looking to get close to her PB of 6576 points achieved at the 2012 Games to secure her spot at another global competition.

Competing as Nina Schultz, Zheng secured silver for Canada at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and now representing China will be looking to build on the 6153 PB score she set in Xi'an in April.

Joining them in Arona will be Switzerland’s 2019 European U23 champion Geraldine Ruckstuhl and Spain’s 2017 world U18 champion Maria Vicente, who scored 6304 points to win at the Multistars event in Lana in April, plus Britain’s Holly Mills, Switzerland’s Caroline Agnou and Austria’s Sarah Lagger.

Sintnicolaas seeks decathlon standard

The decathlon qualifying mark for Tokyo is 8350 points and among the athletes aiming for that will be two-time world fifth-placer Eelco Sintnicolaas of the Netherlands. Having originally planned to return to decathlon action in April, Sintnicolaas decided to push that back a couple of months and will now hope to rediscover the sort of form which saw him achieve his 8539-point Dutch record in Götzis in 2017.

Norway’s Martin Roe returns as the 2019 champion, his national record of 8228 points having been set in Florence in 2018, while the entry list also features Venezuela’s 2019 South American Championships winner Georni Jaramillo and Spain’s Jorge Urena, who won European indoor heptathlon gold in 2019 and silver earlier this year, plus Czech Republic’s Adam Helcelet and Japan’s Keisuke Ushiro. 

The meeting will also feature U20 and U18 competition.

World Athletics