Emma Oosterwegel competes at the Hypomeeting in Gotzis (© AFP / Getty Images)
The Decastar in Talence welcomes athletes for the final World Athletics Combined Events Tour Gold meeting of the season this weekend (17-18), when a number of leading heptathletes and decathletes will be looking to end the year on a high.
Nine heptathletes with 6000-point-plus PBs and 12 athletes who have broken 8000 points in the decathlon will compete at the Stade Pierre Paul Bernard, scene of Kevin Mayer’s world decathlon record of 9126 in 2018.
This time the fields feature Olympic bronze medallist Emma Oosterwegel and Commonwealth champion Lindon Victor as they look to move up the World Athletics Combined Events Tour standings, currently topped by Simon Ehammer and Adrianna Sulek.
Netherlands’ Oosterwegel will want to rebound after the European Championships in Munich, where her competition came to a premature end when she fell in the 100m hurdles. That came after a seventh-place finish at the World Championships in Oregon, where the 24-year-old scored 6440, 150 points off her PB set when claiming bronze at last year’s Olympics.
Among her competition in Talence will be Austria’s Ivona Dadic and Switzerland’s Geraldine Ruckstuhl. Like Oosterwegel, the European Championships did not go to plan for Dadic as she was disqualified in the 200m and the 2018 world pentathlon silver medallist will be looking to complete her first heptathlon of the year. Her PB stands at 6552 from 2018. Ruckstuhl, the 2019 European U23 champion, will also be looking to finish her first heptathlon of the year when she returns to the scene of her 6391 PB set in 2018.
Other athletes with PBs over 6000 joining them are USA’s 2019 NCAA champion Ashtin Zamzow-Mahler, France’s Esther Turpin, Ukraine’s Daryna Sloboda, Sweden’s Bianca Salming, Czech Republic's Dorota Skrivanova and Italy’s Sveva Gerevin.
In the decathlon, Grenada’s Victor is back in action, fresh from winning his second Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham. The 29-year-old scored 8233 for that win, which followed his 8474 points for fifth at the World Championships in Oregon. His national record of 8539 was set in 2017 and he has surpassed 8300 points in each season that he has contested the decathlon since.
In Talence, Victor will go up against Germany’s 2017 world decathlon bronze medallist Kai Kazmirek, USA’s Steven Bastien, Czech Republic’s Adam Helcelet, Sweden’s Marcus Nilsson, Norway’s Markus Rooth and France’s Axel Hubert.
Kazmirek, who scored his 8580 PB when finishing fourth at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, topped the standings in the Combined Events Challenge last year. This season he was unable to finish his competition in Ratingen but went on to finish fifth in Gotzis, 12th at the World Championships and eighth at the European Championships.
Bastien was sixth in the heptathlon at the World Indoor Championships and set his decathlon PB of 8485 in Eugene last year, while Helcelet was 11th in Munich and set his best of 8335 in 2017.
Nilsson, meanwhile, proved his strong form at the European Championships, setting a PB of 8327 to finish fourth, and will be looking to build on that in Talence. European U23 bronze medallist Rooth also set his PB this year, the 20-year-old scoring a national record of 8307 when winning in Grosseto in May, while Hubert returns to action for the first time since Arona in June, having set his PB of 8260 in 2020.
Other entries with 8000-point-plus PBs on their CVs are Germany’s Manuel Eitel, Estonia’s Risto Lillemets, France’s Makenson Gletty, Germany’s Malik Diakite and USA’s Jack Flood.
Also joining them is Belgium’s 2021 European U20 champion and world U20 silver medallist Jente Hauttekeete, who scored 7814 in July.
As well as the top $30,000 prizes, there are also wild card entries for the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 on offer for winners of this season’s World Athletics Combined Events Tour.