Thomas Van Der Plaetsen in the heptathlon pole vault (© Getty Images)
Contesting his first heptathlon since taking the bronze medal at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, Thomas van der Plaetsen won the Belgian indoor title in Gent on Sunday (3) with a world-leading 6132.
The 2016 European decathlon champion led overnight after running 7.27 in the 60m, long jumping 7.67m, throwing 14.30m in the shot and high jumping 2.02m.
He started the second day with an 8.22 clocking in the 60m hurdles and then produced an outright lifetime best of 5.50m in the pole vault – one of the highest vaults ever in an indoor heptathlon. He rounded off his weekend by running 2:46.45 in the 1000m, bringing his score to 6132 – just 127 points shy of his lifetime best.
Van der Plaetsen’s score was one of two world-leading marks at the Belgian Indoor Championships as Hanne Maudens produced a huge PB of 4569 to win the women’s pentathlon.
The 2016 world U20 heptathlon bronze medallist came within 0.01 of her PB in the 60m hurdles, 8.68, and followed it with a 1.76m clearance in the high jump. She then produced a huge outright PB of 13.95m in the shot and sailed out to 6.37m in the long jump before clocking an indoor best of 2:13.98 in the 800m.
Her winning score of 4569 is just 127 points shy of the Belgian U23 record set by world and Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam.
On a busy weekend of combined events action, Janek Oiglane won the International Combined Events Meeting in Tallinn with a PB of 6085 to become the eighth Estonian man to surpass 6000 points for the indoor heptathlon.
Returning to action after missing most of 2018 through injury, 2015 world bronze medallist Laura Ikauniece-Admidina won the pentathlon with 4454, setting indoor PBs of 8.37 in the 60m hurdles and 13.92m in the shot.
Geraldine Ruckstuhl broke her own national indoor record at the Swiss Indoor Combined Events Championships, scoring 4489. The 2015 world U18 champion clocked 8.70 in the 60m hurdles, high jumped 1.81m, threw 14.55m in the shot, long jumped 5.96m and ran 2:17.62 in the 800m to win comfortably.
Annik Kalin won the U20 title with a PB of 4338, the best score in the world this year by a junior athlete.
At the Austrian Indoor Championships in Linz, Verena Preiner held off a strong challenge from world U20 silver medallist Sarah Lagger to win the pentathlon with 4482, just four points shy of her own national indoor record.
Preiner's 133-point cushion from the 60m hurdles (8.47 to 9.09) was just enough to hold off her younger rival in the first four events as Lagger responded with superior marks in the high jump (1.75m to 1.69m), shot put (14.01m to 13.76m) and long jump (6.17m to 6.06m). But Preiner sealed victory with a 2:09.45 run in the 800m, while Lagger finished second with a PB of 4372.
Fredrik Samuelsson won the heptathlon at the Swedish Indoor Combined Events Championships with a PB of 6018, while 18-year-old Tilde Johansson won the pentathlon with a PB of 4201.
Mihambo close to seven metres in Berlin
Malaika Mihambo of Germany jumped a 6.99m world lead in the long jump to highlight the ISTAF Indoor Meeting in Berlin on Friday (1).
The European champion put together a solid series, jumping beyond 6.90m three times: 6.94m in the third round, her winning 6.99m in the fourth and capping the competition with a 6.98m leap in the sixth. Her effort bettered her previous indoor best by 27 centimetres and equalled her outdoor career best set last May.
European silver medallist Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk from Ukraine was second at 6.73m, with Serbia's Ivana Spanovic third at 6.65m.
A crowd of 12,100 attended the event at Berlin's Mercedes Benz Arena, which annually hosts the largest indoor athletics crowd to gather for a single-day competition.
In a close 60m hurdles contest, Pamela Dutkiewicz edged German compatriot Cindy Roleder by 0.02 in 7.89, another world lead. Elvira Herman of Belarus was third in 7.97.
Sam Kendricks won the pole vault with a second-attempt clearance at 5.86m to reclaim the world lead. Poles Piotr Lisek and Pawel Wojciechowski topped out at 5.76m to finish second and third respectively.
In a close men's 60m, Briton Reece Prescod got the nod over Ivory Coast's Arthur Cisse, both clocking 6.53. Kristal Awuah took the women's race in 7.19. France's Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France took the men's 60m hurdles in 7.62, edging Gregor Traber's 7.65.
Organisers of the event, one of just a handful in the world that stages an indoor discus competition, added a further twist by turning it into a men vs women team competition for the first time.
Teams of four competed in direct duels over four rounds, collecting points for each win. In her duel, Nadine Muller beat Olympic champion Christoph Harting with a 63.89m effort, a meeting record that earned her extra points to secure the team win. It was also the farthest throw ever achieved indoors in the rarely contested event.
Lukas Weißhaidinger of Austria produced the best throw in the men's competition, reaching 63.06m.
Organisers and Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
Bednarek’s breakthrough builds momentum
Kenny Bednarek’s world-leading 200m time at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln on Saturday (2) highlighted US collegiate action this weekend.
The 20-year-old turned heads with his 45.93 clocking over 400m on an oversized indoor track in December and then sped to a 20.60 outright 200m PB in Iowa last month. He improved on that in Lincoln, though, with a time of 20.30, taking him to equal 13th on the world indoor all-time list.
Britain’s Thomas Staines also rocketed up the world indoor all-time list with his 600m performance at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic in Albuquerque. His 1:15.31 clocking smashed the British record and moved him to eighth on the world indoor all-time list, tied with 2013 world 800m champion Mohammed Aman.
Elsewhere in the States, European pole vault champion Armand Duplantis cleared a world-leading 5.87m at the LSU Bayou Bengal Invitational, while Quincy Hall sped to a 45.84 clocking to win the 400m at the Carolina Challenge in Columbia.
Karalis close to best form
Greek vaulter Emmanouil Karalis continued his post-injury comeback at the Elite Indoor Meeting in Mondeville on Saturday (2).
The 19-year-old, who sat out the 2018 outdoor season through injury, won the pole vault with a season’s best of 5.75m, the third-best clearance of his career.
World indoor silver medallist Jarret Eaton won the 60m hurdles in a season’s best of 7.58, while Asian Games champion Birhanu Balew of Bahrain won the 3000m in 7:46.00.
Fast times on a flat track
The JDL Fast Track, an unbanked 200m indoor track in Winston-Salem, played host to the Camel City Invitational on Saturday (2) as a host of athletes recorded quick times.
Olympic bronze medallist Clayton Murphy won the men’s 800m in 1:45.92, while world bronze medallist Ajee Wilson won the women’s event in 1:59.26, the fastest time in the world this year for the distance.
Australia’s World Cross-bound Patrick Tiernan won the 3000m comfortably in 7:48.86. Competing on his 25th birthday, Edward Cheserek won the mile in a season’s best of 3:55.74.