Laura Ikauniece-Admidina in the heptathlon javelin at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (© Getty Images)
With the 2015 series having been concluded at the Decastar meeting in the Bordeaux suburb of Talence at the weekend, Russia’s Ilya Shkurenev and Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece-Admidina top this year’s IAAF Combined Events Challenge standings and are the overall winners.*
Shkurenev became the first Russian man to win the challenge since it was inaugurated in 1998 after amassing a total of 25,259 points from his three scoring decathlons.
He put together a personal best of 8538 to finish fourth at the IAAF World Championships and had two other competitions over 8300 points, including a win at the European Cup Combined Events in July.
For his efforts, Shkurenev will take the challenge first prize of USD $30,000.
However, there has never been a closer finish to an IAAF Combined Events Challenge, either men or women, as only seven points separated him from Germany’s Michael Schrader, who finished second with 25,252.
Schrader was second in Gotzis and then won in Ratingen before finishing seventh in Beijing. He was a model of consistency through the summer with three competitions between 8415 and 8419 points.
Money awards went to the first eight men and women in this year’s challenge standings.
Ashton Eaton, who set a world record of 9045 when winning at the IAAF World Championships, only competed in one decathlon and so was not eligible for a money award as athletes have to compete in a minimum of three of the qualifying combined event competitions.
Unlike Shkurenev, Ikauniece-Admidina did not contest the final event of the year in Talence but will no doubt have been following it closely as she could still have been ousted from first place.
Nevertheless, in the end, her tally of 19,422 points proved to be enough for her to deservedly take the title following three heptathlon national records in three successive competitions.
She scored 6436 for eighth place in Gotzis, won her division of the European Cup Combined Events with 6470 and then improved further to 6516 to take the World Championships bronze medal last month.
Germany’s Claudia Rath took second place in the challenge with 19,189 points from her three scoring heptathlons.
Canada’s world leader Brianne Theisen-Eaton only competed in two heptathlons during the year, winning in Gotzis with 6808 before finishing second in Beijing with 6554, and so she, like her husband, did not compete in the required three meetings in the series.
*subject to fulfilling the usual anti-doping requirements