Tatyana Chernova of Russia competes in the long jump in the women's heptathlon (© Getty Images)
Talence, FranceHans van Alphen of Belgium and Russia's World champion Tatyana Chernova claimed victories in the Decathlon and Heptathlon, respectively, at the Decastar Meeting, the final competition of the 2011 IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
Van Alphen tallied 8200 points to edge Mikk Pahapill (8184) of Estonia while Chernova totaled 6679 points, topping Natallia Dobrynska by 141 points.
The Decastar meet is traditionally the last invitational combined events meeting of the season. As the final competition counting for the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, it was for many athletes the last opportunity to gain points in the series.
Decathlon - van Alphen fights back
The first event on the second day began in the rain, putting a damper on the proceedings in the 110m Hurdles. Despite this Pahapill won the first heat with a 14.38 season’s best. Dutchman Eelco Sintnicolaas finished in the second heat only 0.02 slower and was with this result was third overall in this event. The victory went to the overnight leader, Andres Raja, who clocked 14.13, strengthening his pole position. After six events he was 97 points ahead of Ukrainian Oleksey Kasyanov with Sintnicolaas 29 points behind.
With a throw of 47.24 in the Discus Throw Germany’s Pascal Behrenbruch took the victory in this event. Second position was for Pahapill (46.58), followed by van Alphen with 46.11. With this result the Belgian athlete gained important points for his 8200 points goal, the A-standard for next summer’s Olympic Games.
Sintnicolaas started with a poor throw of 36.51m. On his second attempt the discus went outside the sector and unfortunately hit the Latvian athlete Laura Ikauniece who was waiting for the start of Heptathlon Long Jump. Although she was able to continue the competition the incident clearly affected Sintnicolaas who again fouled on his last attempt, losing valuable points.
After seven events Raja was still leading ahead of Kasyanov. Pahapill moved into third ahead of van Alphen while Sintnicolaas dropped to sixth.
Sintnicolaas started the Pole Vault at 5.20m when all the other contenders had already finished. He topped 5.40m on his first try and narrowly missed a 5.50m personal best on his third try. With a personal best performance of 5.10m Pahapill moved into the lead with Sintnicolaas second.
After the penultimate event the main contenders were quite close. Pahapill was still leading with 7494 points, with Sintnicolaas second and Van Alphen third with 7396.
The better 1500m runners, Van Alphen and Sintnicolaas forced the pace, where Van Alphen showed to have the most reserves. From the start, Frederic Xhonneux and Gael Querin took the leading positions while Van Alphen followed in the slipstream. Querin continued until the finish, while Van Alphen crossed the line in 4:21.10 to tally exactly 8200, precisely the goal he set for himself.
Heptathlon – Chernova notches third victory in 2011
Chernova started the second day well with a winning leap of 6.57m in the Long Jump, which also moved her to the top of the leaderboard after five events. Dobrynska, the overnight leader, reached 6.31m, an improvement of 13 centimetres on her season’s best set in Daegu.
The Russian world champion took the second victory of the day in the Javelin Throw, spearing a distance of 50.62m. Junior Laura Ikauniece, who was third at the European junior championships earlier this year in Tallinn, narrowly missed the 50-metre mark with 49.96m. After a throw of 47.40m Dobrynska was still 29 points ahead of her season best performance, but the gap behind Chernova was increased to 90 points, too much to put endanger the Russian’s ultimate victory.
In the final event of the day Pole Karolina Tyminska took the lead. As a strong 800m runner she maintained this position to cross the finish line in 2:06.51 to move up from sixth into third with 6301 points. Meanwhile, Chernova kept her eyes only on her remaining opponent. After 600 metres she passed Dobrynska to secure the victory. She tallied 6679 points to easily distance herself from Dobrynska, whose 6538 tally was just one point shy of her season's best.
Hans van Kuijen for the IAAF