Lindon Victor in the decathlon discus at the Decastar meeting in Talence (© Michel Fisquet)
Commonwealth champion Lindon Victor broke his own Grenadian record with 8550 to win the decathlon at the Decastar meeting in Talence on Sunday (18), winning the overall men’s title in the World Athletics Combined Events Tour in the process.
The women’s Decastar heptathlon title, meanwhile, went right down to the wire as Emma Oosterwegel of the Netherlands and Ivona Dadic of Austria ended in a tie for victory, both women scoring 6233.
Victor was contesting his fourth decathlon of the year, having finished second in Götzis and fifth at the World Championships before his triumph at the Commonwealth Games, but he showed relatively little sign of fatigue in Talence at this late stage of the season.
The 29-year-old opened his campaign with a wind-assisted 10.61 (3.1m/s) in the 100m, finishing second to Germany’s Manuel Eitel with 10.44. Switzerland’s Finley Gaio was third in 10.63.
Gaio leapt into the lead after the long jump, soaring 7.76m. That was seven centimetres farther than USA’s Steven Bastien, his mark a PB, while Victor recorded 7.49m and Eitel 7.29m.
Come the shot put it was Victor’s turn to launch ahead thanks to a 15.75m throw, almost a metre farther than any of his rivals. France’s Makenson Gletty recorded 14.88m and Eitel a 14.86m PB. Lithuania’s Edgaras Benkunskas topped the high jump with 2.08m, while Estonia’s Risto Lillemets and USA’s Jack Flood both cleared 2.05m and Victor 2.02m.
Victor ended day one with a win in his 400m heat, clocking a PB of 48.20 for the day’s third-quickest time behind Germany’s Malik Diakite (47.74) and Gaio with (48.19), giving the Grenadian an overnight score of 4438 and a 128-point lead over Gaio.
Victor’s strong series continued on Sunday, starting the day with a 14.70 run in the 110m hurdles, just a few hundredths shy of his season’s best. Gaio, an international-standard hurdler in his own right, dominated that event with a 13.68 run, giving him a brief lead before slipping down the leaderboard over the course of the day.
But Victor responded in the next event, throwing 51.00m – the best mark of the day – in the discus to regain the lead. Eitel remained in contention too, throwing 43.53m.
Victor equalled his 4.80m season’s best in the pole vault and followed it with a 66.01m throw in the javelin, another strong event for the Grenadian, giving him a lead of almost 400 points going into the final event. Eitel remained in second place, following his 4.80m vault and a 60.51m javelin throw. Lillemets, meanwhile, climbed up to third place thanks to a 5.00m vault and 59.82m javelin throw.
Diakite was a comfortable winner of the 1500m, but all eyes were on Victor and whether he’d do enough to break his own national record. He pulled out a lifetime best of 4:43.74, bringing his score to 8550 – an 11-point improvement on his previous best.
Eitel and Lillemets held on to their podium places, finishing second and third respectively with scores of 8193 and 8149. France’s Makenson Gletty was close behind in fourth (8141).
In the heptathlon, 2018 world indoor pentathlon silver medallist Dadic started with 13.81 in the 100m hurdles, won by France’s Esther Turpin in 13.51 from Oosterwegel, the Olympic bronze medallist, in 13.66.
Sweden’s Bianca Salming topped the high jump, clearing 1.86m as USA’s Ashtin Zamzow-Mahler managed 1.80m and Dadic and Turpin both went over 1.77m. Next up was the shot put, Switzerland’s Geraldine Ruckstuhl leading the way with a PB throw of 14.68m, adding 10 centimetres to her previous best. Salming had the second best mark of 14.41m, while Oosterwegel threw 13.75m and Dadic 13.68m.
The day came to a close with the 200m, Dadic clocking 24.11 to give her a day-one score of 3689, 112 points ahead of Salming. Oosterwegel, meanwhile, was further down in fifth, almost 200 points adrift of the leader.
Dadic extended her lead in the first event of the second day, leaping 6.01m in the long jump. Oosterwegel recorded a best of 5.92m, moving her into second place overall.
But everything changed in the javelin. Oosterwegel launched her spear out to a lifetime best of 55.47m and catapulting herself into the lead, nine points ahead of Dadic, who threw 43.92m.
Dadic knew she had to finish a stride ahead of Oosterwegel in the final event, the 800m, to claw back the points deficit and regain the lead. And she did indeed finish ahead, clocking 2:11.12 to Oosterwegel’s 2:11.78, but it was ‘only’ enough to bring her level with the Dutch all-rounder, both women scoring 6233. Salming held on to third place with 6028.
The performance also elevated Oosterwegel up to third in the overall Combined Events Tour standings.