Report12 May 2024

Pineau and Diakite take the spoils in Arona


Elisa Pineau in action in Arona (© Organisers)

France’s Elisa Pineau (6020) and Germany’s Malik Diakite (8037) were the winners at the International Meeting of Arona – the second Gold leg of the World Athletics Combined Events Tour – on the Canary Islands this weekend (11-12). Both multi-eventers only took the lead after the final events and missed their respective lifetime bests by a narrow margin.

Vidts shines on day one

Taking advantage of an ideal 1.9m/s tailwaind, the two-time world indoor champion Noor Vidts opened the heptathlon with a 13.31 100m hurdles, her fourth ever quickest time. Even so, she couldn’t top the event, that feat going to Norway’s Ida Eikeng who lowered her career best by 0.03 thanks to a 13.23 performance. Spain’s Sofia Cosculluela and Britain’s Jodie Smith also set respective lifetime bests of 13.42 and 13.43. 

After the high jump, Vidts moved to the top after equalling her PB of 1.84m at the first time of asking, while the 22-year-old Smith improved her career best by clearing 1.81m on her third attempt. Overall, Vidts finished the morning session at the helm with a 2107 tally to Smith’s 2051, while Eikeng was a distant third on 1969 points. 

The 27-year-old Belgian athlete extended her lead in the shot put, despite not reaching the 14-metre barrier with a furthest throw of 13.85m in round three in a contest won by Switzerland’s Caroline Agnou thanks to a 14.38m performance, while Eikeng overtook Smith in the fight for second place overall – 13.75m and 12.37m their respective marks. The Norwegian was some nine points ahead of the Briton but 145 behind the leading 2891 points of Vidts. 

In Saturday’s closing event, Eikeng got the better of the two-time world indoor champion to grab the 200m win in 24.26 (-0.9m/s) to Vidts’ 24.54, but the latter was a clear overnight leader with a 3820 tally to Eikeng’s 3702 and Smith’s 3641. 

By then, Pineau was only sixth with 3560 points after performances of 13.94 (100m hurdles), 1.72m (high jump), 14.19m (shot put) and 25.00 (200m).

At the beginning of day two, Belgium’s Sennah Vanhoeijen produced a fine 6.18m second-attempt leap in the long jump to grab the win ahead of Pineau’s 6.15m, although the big news came when Vidts did not begin the contest. Vidts confirmed that it was just a matter of season planning, as she had already intended not to compete on Sunday. 

In her absence, Eikeng (5.94m in the long jump) moved into pole position with 4521 points and a 65-point gap ahead of Pineau, while Smith placed third another 80 points behind. 

The Norwegian extended her lead after the javelin, an event taken by Agnou (50.29m), thanks to a 47.43m throw for third compared to Pineau’s 44.71m. With just the 800m left, Eikeng led by 117 points (5331/5214) with Ireland’s Kate O’Connor in third (5145). The final 800m was dominated by the Swiss athletes – the win going to Katelyn Adel (2:14.79) ahead of Lydia Boll (2:15.90). 

In the fight for the heptathlon victory, Pineau took advantage of Eikeng’s 2:40.90 performance to overtake her after her 2:21.27 clocking for sixth.

“I’m so happy because honestly, I didn’t expect to win this weekend,” said Pineau. “My first day was quite weak and today was just OK. I was just seven points off my PB, so I’m satisfied.”

Exciting Tesselaar-Kopecky clash, but Diakite finally prevails

Malik Diakite and Jeff Tesselaar in Arona

Malik Diakite and Jeff Tesselaar in Arona (© Organisers)

The men’s opening 100m witnessed the win of Spain’s 20-year-old Tayb David Loum in 10.72. He was followed by his compatriot Pol Ferrer (10.78), with Jeff Tesselaar of the Netherlands placing third in 10.90.

The leading favourites for the overall win struggled at this event, with Ondrej Kopecky of Czechia being timed at 11.10, Germany’s Kai Kazmirek clocking 11.37 and Sweden’s Marcus Nilsson running 11.51. 

The long jump was dominated by Tesselaar as the Dutch athlete produced a massive effort of 7.88m, helped by a 2.4m/s following wind in his last attempt after fouling the first two jumps to move to the front after two events. He had 2643 points to Ferrer’s 2560 - the 21-year-old Spaniard being second in the long jump thanks to a 7.55m effort. 

Top in the shot put went to Spain’s Jose San Pastor thanks to a 15.69m first-round toss, while Tesselaar exceeded the 14-metre mark for the first time in his career (14.03m for sixth), which proved to be enough to maintain his top spot.

The high jump didn’t bring fireworks, Britain’s Lewis Church being the only multi-eventer reaching the 2.00m barrier, while the 2017 world bronze medallist Kazmirek decided not to take part after feeling some discomfort over the first two events. A 1.97m second-time clearance by Tesselaar strengthened his lead to 136 points over Ferrer (3419/3283) while Kopecky (1.94m) became a threatening third, just 36 points behind the Spaniard. 

The final 400m of day one went to Loum after a brisk career best of 47.33, while Tesselaar clocked 48.16 for third. The one-lap event produced notable casualties as the 2022 winner Nilsson did not start, while an injured Ferrer crossed the finish line jogging. 

At the end of the Saturday session, the European U23 Championships ninth-place finisher Tesselaar led with 4320 points and a 216 advantage on Kopecky, himself 14 points clear of Loum, while the eventual winner Diakite placed fifth with 4049 points thanks to performances of 11.09 (100m), 7.42m (long jump), 14.12m (shot put), 1.88m (high jump) and 49.00 (400m).

After day one, everything seemed ready for a fierce battle between the Dutch and the Czech decathletes. Kopecky is coached by the former world record-holder Roman Sebrle, who declared after day one: “His second day is better than the first one, so I’m confident Ondrej can reach 8200 points or so.”

The 110m hurdles narrowed Tesselaar’s margin as Kopecky clocked 14.48 for third, while the overnight leader finished fourth in 14.65 to lose 21 points from his advantage. The event was taken by Venezuela’s Gerson Izaguirre, 14.05 (0.6m/s) his winning time. 

Kopecky kept his chase on Tesselaar in the discus by winning with a 45.13m second-round effort, head and shoulders above the 21-year-old Dutch athlete who could not go beyond ninth with 38.33m, 5843 and 5787 being their respective scorings after seven events with Izaguirre third (5686). 

The pole vault was bittersweet for Kopecky as he took the overall lead – 6606 to 6603 – with a 4.70m clearance, but he injured his achilles tendon on his first attempt over 4.90m. Tessalaar equalled his career best outdoors of 4.50m and seemed to be the favourite for the overall win, but while the 21-year-old improved his javelin PB to 50.55m he lost the top spot to Diakite who unleashed a 61.58m effort to overtake the German by four points before the final 1500m. 

The 1500m became a thriller as Tesselaar got a swift start to reach the 400m (1:07.12) and 800m (2:18.23) marks 40m ahead of the German, but the latter found another gear to cover the closing lap in a brisk 1:02 to romp home virtually even with Tesselaar (4:16.54 and 4:16:86, both lifetime bests) to finally succeed by just two points.

Diakite scored 8037 points to Tesselaar’s 8035, the winner improving his PB by 282 points.

The 24-year-old victor commented: “I’m super tired as it has been two tough days, but it’s worth it as I have won and exceed the 8000m barrier for the second time in my career (8051 PB). I’ll next compete in Ratingen at the end of June.”

Emeterio Valiente for World Athletics

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