Julia Machtig after winning at the 2013 IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting in Ratingen (© Gladys von der Laage)
Julia Machtig came through strongly on the second day of the Ruhrgas DLV Mehrkampf meeting, an IAAF Combined Events Challenge competition, to set a 2013 world-leading Heptathlon of 6430 points in the German town of Ratingen on Sunday (16).
It was also a personal best for the 27-year-old former World and European junior championships medallist, who defended the title she won 12 months ago in Ratingen when she set her previous best of 6345 points.
Machtig started the day just 13 points in arrears of overnight leader Kira Biesenbach but initially lost ground after the first event, the Long Jump.
She went out to 6.31m, a decent jump and just 18cm short of her best, but Biesenbach stayed in front with 4642 points thanks to a leap of 6.42m, just two centimetres short of her best.
Claudia Rath equalled her best with 6.50m to move back into second place with 4660 points and Machtig fell to third with 4634 points.
However, Machtig showed her mettle and went back in front after the Javelin as she had done on Saturday after the Shot Put.
Machtig throwing talent clinches win
She was the best of the day with her first throw of 51.58m, a massive improvement of more than three metres on her previous best of 48.01m and more than 10 metres better than her main rivals.
Machtig’s big throw saw her total move to 5525 points after six events and effectively clinched her victory.
Rath stayed in second place with 5333 points after a throw of 40.30m while Biesenbach tumbled to third, 50 points further back, when she struggled with her weakest event and could only reach 36.50m.
Rath closed the gap on Machtig when she was the fastest 800m runner, completing two laps of the track in a personal best of 2:08.68 and finished second overall with 6317 points, 107 better than she had ever scored before.
Machtig gritted her teeth and came home in 2:14.12, less than half-a-second off her best, while just behind her was Biesenbach, who ran 2:14.32 to finish with a personal best of 6185 points.
“I am completely overwhelmed and very happy. I love to come to Ratingen, this is where I always perform best. For the 800 metres, Kira and I decided to run together so she could achieve the standard for Moscow. It was good she took over in the last lap; otherwise I would probably have slowed down,” revealed Machtig.
“Before Moscow, I’d like to take part in the German Championships in the Shot Put and the Long Jump, and then I’ll get ready for the World Championships,” she added.
In fact, the first three all booked their places on the plane to the IAAF World Championships in Moscow this August.
Behrenbruch world lead
Pascal Behrenbruch won the Decathlon with a world-leading 8514 points, and will accompany his three female compatriots from the Heptathlon.
Behrenbruch started the day in fifth place but moved up one notch after he ran the 110m Hurdles in 14.17, the second fastest time of the three heats while Rico Freimuth took over in front with 5373 points after winning the same race in 13.85.
Overnight leader Kai Kazmirek slipped down to second after he ran 14.36.
Mattias Prey took the honours in the Discus with an effort of 50.63m. The former World junior champion Jan Felix Knobel was the second best with 49.21m and Freimuth maintained his place in front overall with a throw of 49.03m that took his tally to 6223 points
Behrenbruch continued his ascent up the rankings and moved up to third with 6008 points after a throw of 48.25m despite it being almost two metres down on his best, with Kazmirek staying in second place with 6077 points after a personal best throw of 44.69m.
The top three stayed the same after the Pole Vault although Kazmirek closed the gap on Freimuth slightly as he lead the way with a clearance at 5.10m, another personal best.
Freimuth went over 4.80m to move his total along to 7072 points, with Kazmirek 54 points further back, while Behrenbruch was one of three other men to clear 5.00m but remained in third place now 100 points in arrears of Kazmirek.
Howver, there was all change at the top after the Javelin.
Knobel launched the spear out to a meeting record of 71.61m, his second best effort in a Decathlon although he does have a personal best of 76.36m, to shoot up from fourth to first place with 7787 points.
Behrenbruch was the third best Javelin thrower with 67.59m and he moved to just three points behind Freimuth as the latter could only throw 57.61m to advance to 7774 points.
With just 16 points separating the top three, the 1500m was sure to be a thriller but the advantage now lay with Behrenbruch as he was the better of the three main protagonists as a distance runner.
France’s Gael Querin won in 4:23.59 but Behrenbruch knew what he had to do, and what the others were capable of, and came home in fourth place in 4:30.26, his best run over the distance in almost seven years.
Behrenbruch’s 8514 points was the second best of his career, regardless of the wind readings, only superseded by the 8554 points he put together to win the 2012 European title in Helsinki last summer .
“My opponents really had me worried this weekend. I kept thinking: ‘I am in great shape, I can do 8400 points or more, but why I am not in the lead yet?’ I already showed my fighting spirit over the 400 metres on the first day, which felt like I was coming back, and then I fought on during the second day. This time, I didn't lose faith in myself. Congratulations to the other guys, too. They are still young, the future is theirs – once I resign in six year’s time!” joked Behrenbruch.
Freimuth finished second overall with 8488 points after coming home just over four seconds slower than Behrenbruch in a personal best of 4:34.69, while Knobel scored 8396 points for third place after trudging home in 4:51.61.
Unike Behrenbruch Freimuth and Knobel’s scores will be considered wind-assisted. They were in the same 100m and 110m Hurdles heats as him, the former having a strong 5.4 metres-per-second following wind, but because they had breezes on their backs during the Long Jump (Behrenbruch's best jump came into a slight headwind), they exceeded the 2.0mps average allowable across the three events where wind readings were taken..
Phil Minshull for the IAAF