Eliska Klucinova in the heptathlon high jump at the TNT Express Meeting in Kladno (© Jan Kucharcik)
Czech heptathlete Eliska Klucinova and Algerian decathlete Larbi Bourrada hold the overnight lead at the TNT Express Meeting Kladno after the pair respectively tallied 3828 and 4158 at the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting on Saturday (17).
Klucinova’s day-one score is just one point shy of her equivalent mark from 2014 when she went on to set a national record of 6460. Compared to her record tally from three years ago, the three-time Kladno winner performed better today in the shot put and 200m.
“But my second day is not going to be so good this year after shoulder surgery,” she was quick to point out. “I was a little bit upset after hurdles, but rest of the events went well. My aim is the World Championships qualifying standard of 6200.”
Burkina Faso’s Marthe Koala is 75 points behind Klucinova after the first day. “I am very happy,” said the 23-year-old Olympian, who is 84 points ahead of where she was at this point in Götzis when she set a PB of 6036. “I equalled my personal bests in the hurdles and high jump and improved my PB in shot put. The 200 meters also went well. I have a slight thigh injury, but I think it won’t affect my performance.”
In a close battle for second place, Benin’s Odile Ahouanwanou is just five points behind Koala with 3748, almost 100 points up on her best ever day-one score. After setting PBs in all four events on the first day, Portugal’s Lecabela Quaresma is five points behind Ahouanwanou in fourth.
In near-perfect conditions for the first event, the 100m hurdles, Koala equalled her national record of 13.25 (1.9m/s). She has twice represented Burkina Faso at the Olympic Games in the 100m hurdles.
Despite a sluggish reaction of 0.417, caused by some noise behind the starting blocks, home hope Katerina Cachova was second in 13.28. Klucinova opened her first heptathlon of the season in 13.85 as the seventh fastest overall.
The high jump brought mixed feelings for Czech fans. Cachova, whose PB is 1.85m, managed just 1.68m. Much like in Götzis, where she jumped 1.65m, her hopes for a good overall score were hampered in the second event.
Klucinova cleared 1.86m and moved to the first place after two events. Quaresma was the only other jumper over 1.80m, improving her PB by two centimetres. Koala dropped to second place overall but was more than happy to clear 1.77m, once again equalling her PB.
Klucinova remained at the top after shot put of 14.43m, but both of her closest competitors improved their personal bests and stayed in contention for the first place. Quaresma, who was a flag bearer of her native country Sao Tome and Principe at the London 2012 Olympics, tossed 14.61m and moved into second place, 23 points behind Klucinova.
Despite a lifetime best of 13.59m, Koala dropped to third place overall. Ahouanwanou, meanwhile, moved up to fourth after throwing 14.70m, the best mark of the day.
Klucinova increased her lead after last event of the day. Her 200m time of 24.31 would have been a PB had it not been for a following wind of 2.3m/s.
Barbora Dvorakova, daughter of three-time world decathlon champion Tomas Dvorak, was the only heptathlete to better 24 seconds in the 200m, clocking 23.90.
African record-holder Bourrada won four of the five decathlon events on Saturday and leads by 105 points from Norway’s Martin Roe, the runner-up in Kladno two years ago. South Africa’s Willem Coertzen is third, 228 points behind Bourrada.
“I am generally pleased, but there is still a lot of room for improvement before the World Championships,” said the three-time African champion, who finished fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Bourrada opened with 10.76 in the 100m (2.3m/s), the fastest of the 17 decathletes. Roe was second in 10.87, one hundredth ahead of Pawel Wiesiolek from Poland.
In a relatively modest long jump competition, Bourrada’s 7.26m was enough to win, three centimetres ahead of Coertzen.
But the Algerian lost his lead after the shot put where he managed a disappointing 12.40m. Norwegian decathletes dominated the shot as Roe won with 15.24m to move into the overall lead, while compatriot Lars Vikan Rise was second with 14.82m.
Bourrada bounced back in the high jump, though, and cleared 2.05m to top the results in that event. No one else cleared two metres, but Roe managed a respectable 1.96m.
Wiesiolek, the runner-up after three events, failed to clear his opening height of 1.84m while Czech Republic’s Marek Lukas, the 2015 Kladno winner, withdrew from the competition with a groin injury.
Bourrada increased his lead after the last event of the day, covering the 400m in 48.47 to finish almost two seconds ahead of Roe (50.38).
Michal Osoba for the IAAF