Report27 May 2023

Hall scores 6988 to win Götzis heptathlon, LePage takes decathlon


Day one leader Anna Hall in Götzis (© AFP / Getty Images)

US all-rounder Anna Hall gave the 7000-point barrier a scare at the Hypo Meeting in Götzis, winning the heptathlon at the World Athletics Combined Events Tour Gold meeting with a world-leading 6988.

It means that, at just 22 years of age, Hall moves to fifth on the world all-time list behind the four members of the 7000-point club: Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Carolina Kluft, Nafissatou Thiam and Larisa Nikitina.

The Hypo Meeting decathlon title, meanwhile, remained in Canadian hands, but seven-time winner Damian Warner had to surrender his crown to compatriot Pierce LePage, who won with a world-leading 8700.

Hall, the world bronze medallist, set the tone for the weekend in the first discipline, winning the 100m hurdles in 12.75 to take 0.03 off the meeting record. She moved straight into the lead, and there she stayed for the duration of the competition.

US compatriot Taliyah Brooks finished second in the 100m hurdles (12.85), while Cuba’s Adriana Rodriguez also dipped under 13 seconds to place third (12.97) ahead of Adrianna Sulek from Poland (13.18).

Hall set another PB in the high jump with 1.92m, a height that was matched by Croatia’s 17-year-old Jana Koscak, the European U18 champion. Sulek moved into third after clearing 1.83m, while Britain’s 2019 world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson cleared 1.89m to move to fourth place.

Two-time world U20 champion Saga Vanninen from Finland moved into fourth after winning the shot put with 14.98m. Hall recorded 13.90m to hold on to her lead ahead of Sulek, who improved her PB to 14.44m to move into second place. Johnson-Thompson, meanwhile, added six centimetres to her PB with 13.92m to remain in contention.

Hall’s momentum continued in the 200m, which she won in a PB of 22.88, giving her a day-one score of 4172. Only Joyner-Kersee, the world record-holder, ever managed a better day-one score. Johnson-Thompson ran 23.26 to move into third place behind Sulek, who ran 23.80.

Despite producing the three best marks of the long jump at the start of day two – 6.54m PB, 6.51m and 6.50m – Hall was frustrated that she took off significantly behind the board on some of those attempts. Nevertheless, she extended her lead over Sulek and Johnson-Thompson, who jumped 6.29m and 6.32m respectively.

Vanninen also moved up the leaderboard thanks to a PB of 6.43m. But the discipline marked the exit of Multistars winner Brooks, who registered three no-jumps.

The top four were relatively evenly matched in the javelin, Hall maintaining her lead after throwing 43.08m and Johnson-Thompson overtaking Sulek with their respective efforts of 44.14m and 41.83m.

Heading into the final discipline, the 800m, Hall knew that she needed to take 0.87 off her already highly respectable PB (2:03.11) to achieve a 7000-point score. Hall – who won the US indoor 400m title earlier this year – went out hard, covering the first lap in 58.51. She held on well in the second half and eventually crossed the line in a PB of 2:02.97, bringing her score to 6988.

Both Hall’s 800m performance and her overall score are the second-best marks ever achieved in Götzis. Having added 233 points to her PB, Hall also moves to second on the North American all-time list.

“I’m very happy with the score,” said a delighted Hall, who made a big breakthrough last year to earn world bronze. “It’s incredible. The crowd carried me through. It’s a dream. I am just 22 and I have time for a score over 7000 points. I am now focused on progressing. I will run the 400 metres hurdles in Florence next Friday and then I will return to the USA to get ready for the US National Championships and the World Championships.”

Johnson-Thompson held off Sulek in the 800m, 2:12.40 to 2:14.33, to claim second place in 6556 – her best score since the 2019 World Championships. Sulek was third in 6480.

Vanninen improved her PB to 6391 to finish fourth, while Germany’s Sophie Weissenberg completed the top five with a PB of 6375. Annie Kunz (6330), Sofie Dokter (6321) and Carolin Schaefer (6321) also broke 6300. Koscak, meanwhile, received the ‘Rookie of the Meeting’ award after finishing ninth with 6293.

World and Olympic silver medallist Anouk Vetter withdrew from the competition on day two as a precaution due to a slight achilles injury.

LePage succeeds Warner

As was the case in the heptathlon, the winner of the first decathlon discipline went on to take the overall title. But the lead changed hands more often in the men’s contest.

Pierce LePage was fastest in the 100m with a PB of 10.28, matched by Kendrick Thompson of The Bahamas. Olympic champion Damian Warner was close behind with 10.29, while Olympic bronze medallist Ashley Moloney clocked 10.39.

“I haven’t competed for a while, so I didn’t expect a PB,” said LePage. “It was the first time that I’ve beaten Warner in the 100m.”

Warner’s 7.75m leap in the long jump gave him the overall lead from LePage, who jumped 7.57m. Moloney moved up to third with 7.60m, but European silver medallist Simon Ehammer had three fouls in the discipline at which he is the world bronze medallist.

Grenada’s Lindon Victor moved into contention after throwing 16.13m in the shot put, but at the top of the leaderboard Warner held on to his lead after throwing 14.92m to LePage’s 15.05m. Moloney, meanwhile, improved his PB to 15.20m to remain in third.

Norway’s European indoor silver medallist Sander Skotheim cleared 2.15m to win the high jump, climbing from 11th to third overall. LePage cleared 2.03m to close the gap on Warner, who jumped 2.00m to maintain his overall lead by just six points.

A 47.66 run from Warner in the 400m helped increase his margin over LePage, who clocked 48.01. Moloney was quickest overall with a meeting record of 46.46, consolidating his third place. Skotheim, meanwhile, set a PB of 47.64.

At the start of the second day, Warner won the 110m hurdles in 13.60, edging Finley Gaio by 0.02. LePage finished in 13.87 to keep his compatriot within his sights.

But the tables turned in the discus, as LePage out-performed Warner by more than three metres, 49.34m to 46.32m, giving LePage a nine-point lead.

LePage went on to extend his lead over the next two disciplines, clearing 5.00m to Warner’s 4.50m in the pole vault, and throwing a PB of 63.09m in the javelin to finish comfortably ahead of Warner (59.92m). Skotheim held third place for the duration of the second day, but Moloney had a disappointing pole vault and javelin and so did not start for the 1500m.

Going into the final discipline, LePage had a 206-point lead over Warner, which translates to roughly half a minute in 1500m terms.

Skotheim won the 1500m with a PB of 4:19.38, but the focus was on the two Canadians behind him. Warner finished in 4:26.16 while LePage followed in 4:45.74, giving him a winning score of 8700. Warner took second place overall with 8619 and Skotheim was rewarded with a massive PB of 8590, earning him the men’s ‘Rookie of the Meeting’ award.

“It’s my first time winning Götzis, and my first international win since 2019,” said LePage, whose winning score was just one point shy of his PB. “The crowd was amazing. Damian pushed me the entire way. He is still the king of Götzis.

“I came here to have fun,” he added. “The javelin PB came from nowhere. This was one of my least favourite disciplines in the past. It was not a perfect competition.”

Warner was magnanimous in defeat. “The better man won today,” he said. “It’s a matter of time before Pierce LePage is on the big stage and is putting up big numbers. He is coming and I am coming up with him. It was the toughest battle I’ve had for a while, but I never thought about giving up.”

One month after winning the Multistars meeting, Estonia’s Karel Tilga was fourth with 8403. Germany’s Manuel Eitel was fifth a PB of 8351 ahead of Australia’s Daniel Golubovic (8301) and Lindon Victor (8293).

Diego Sampaolo for World Athletics

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