Hanna Kasyanova in the heptathlon javelin at the TNT Express meeting in Kladno (© Jan Kucharcik)
World champion Hanna Kasyanova (nee Melnychenko) held on to her overnight lead to win the heptathlon at the TNT Express meeting on Saturday (13), but her husband Oleksiy Kasyanov had to withdraw from the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting due to back pain.
Following the withdrawal of Kasyanov, who had led overnight, Czech champion Marek Lukas moved up the leader board to win the decathlon.
Kasyanova regained the title she won in 2013 with a score of 6277. It was 139 shy of her winning mark from two years ago but was her best score since September 2013.
Defending champion and Czech record-holder Eliska Klucinova was unable to achieve a fourth win in Kladno after finishing second with 6148.
But the home crowd still witnessed a Czech victory. In his first full decathlon of 2015, 23-year-old Lukas set a PB of 7892 to win.
“It’s nice to win at this meeting, but I was hoping for a better result, maybe 8000 points,” said Lukas after becoming the second Czech decathlon winner in Kladno after former world record-holder Roman Sebrle, winner in 2007.
Kasyanova maintains overnight lead
Kasyanova, who held a 43-point overnight lead, started the second day on a high note with 6.25m in the long jump. African champion Marthe Koala recorded the second-best mark of the day, improving her PB to 6.16m. Poland’s Karolina Tyminska reduced the gap between her and Klucinova with 6.09m, seven centimetres ahead of the local star.
Laurien Hoos from the Netherlands didn’t start the second day after injuring her leg on Friday.
Klucinova’s mood improved after the javelin. Due to shoulder problems, she hasn’t been able to practice the event in training, but she threw 46.40m to finish third behind Finland’s Miia Kurppa, who threw 49.61m, and Norway’s Ida Marcussen, who threw 48.74m.
Kasyanova threw 42.50m – her best throw in a heptathlon since the 2012 Olympics – but with one event to go, her lead had been reduced to 39 points. In 800m terms, it translated to roughly four seconds. Down in third, Tyminska had a nine-point advantage over Koala.
The leading trio of Marcussen, Tyminska and Kasyanova broke away on the first lap of the 800m, while Klucinova was a few meters behind. Marcussen went on to win in 2:12.38, almost a second ahead of Tyminska, who maintained her overall third place. Kasyanova crossed the line third in 2:15.09, more than six seconds in front of Klucinova (2:21.68).
“My long jump wasn’t good, but the javelin was fine for my first competition of the season,” said Kasyanova. “I haven’t run the 800m for a year, but now I recall how demanding it is.”
Kladno was just the third heptathlon that Kasyanova had finished since winning the world title in Moscow in 2013. “Of course I am not happy with my score, but it’s nice to be first and I have also achieved standard for the Olympic Games in Rio,” she said.
In previous seasons, Klucinova always produced a higher score in Kladno than in Gotzis, but this year it was different. She struggled in the hot conditions and scored 201 fewer points than two weeks ago.
“It felt as though I was in a sauna here after much cooler days prior to the competition,” she said. “My body didn’t react well to these extreme changes. My plan was to try to stay behind Hanna and then go to the lead in the 800m, but she was running really fast today.”
After four second-place finishes in Kladno, Tyminska once again made it on to the podium, this time finishing third with 6048.
Marcussen finished fourth with 5868, while fifth-placed Koala broke her own Burkinabe record with 5852, adding 383 to her previous wind-legal best and going way beyond the wind-assisted 5711 she scored earlier this year.
Lukas leaves it late
Kasyanova’s husband Oleksiy Kasyanov looked to be on course for a record third decathlon win in Kladno, but the 2010 and 2014 winner started to feel pain in his back during the pole vault, which forced him to withdraw after eight events.
For the first time in the history of the meeting, no decathlete managed to surpass the 8000-point barrier.
Lukas, who finished ninth at the 2015 European Indoor Championships, secured his victory in the final event and finished 50 points ahead of Martin Roe, scoring a PB of 7892.
Victory in Kladno had been a long time coming for Lukas, who finished 22nd on his first appearance here in 2011 before improving to ninth in 2012, third in 2013 and then dropping outside the medals last year, finishing fourth.
Having set four individual PBs, Norway’s 23-year-old Roe added 257 to his PB to score 7842 in second place. Romain Martin from France scored 7825 in third.
Kasyanov clocked 14.09 (-1.7m/s) in the 110m hurdles to increase his lead over Roe from 139 to 155 points. With a PB of 15.35, Roe maintained his second place while Martin ran 14.81.
The only host nation decathlete left in the competition, Lukas was the second best with 14.56 and moved up to fourth place ahead of Britain’s David Hall.
Kasyanov and Roe increased their lead in the discus. The Ukrainian lived up to expectations and excelled with the best mark of the day, throwing 50.85m in the last round, his best ever throw within a decathlon.
Roe was more than six meters behind with 44.81m and the margin between the top two extended to 419 points.
Kasyanov, the 2012 world indoor silver medallist, had been hoping for a personal best in the pole vault, but he failed to clear 4.85m. His best clearance, 4.65m, was 17 centimetres shy of his PB but was still the second best behind Martin, who jumped 4.75m.
After six successful jumps in a row, Roe produced another lifetime best, clearing 4.45m.
Kasyanov’s withdrawal then threw the competition wide open. Lukas, the meeting record-holder in the javelin, confirmed that it was his strongest event with 65.83m and moved up to second place.
Going into the 1500m, Lukas was 21 points behind the leader Roe, while Martin was another 31 points back. The 23-year-old needed to run roughly three seconds faster than Roe, but the Norwegian’s PB was slightly better.
Lukas bravely attacked on the final lap and quickly opened a gap on his rival. His time of 4:31.84 was enough for the overall victory, as the Norwegian was more than 11 seconds behind in 4:42.95.
British 20-year-old Hall showed he was the best runner in the field. After winning the 100m and 400m, he also won the 1500m and set a lifetime best of 4:24.79, despite the heavy rain. In his second senior decathlon, he improved his PB to 7651, which was enough for fifth place behind Lars Vikan Rise, who tallied 7715.
Michal Osoba for the IAAF