Ashton Eaton in the Decathlon Javelin at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow (© Getty Images)
The men’s Decathlon competition has reached the final event and following a great show in the Pole Vault, it seemed that some athletes were a bit tired and couldn’t get near the results they needed to stay in the medal hunt.
The competition leader, Ashton Eaton, was not affected, but hit a bomb of a throw with his third attempt following a couple of throws well under 60 metres. The 25-year-old Olympic champion from the USA came close to his personal best (66.64m) with a 64.83m throw, almost three metres better than his previous best within a Decathlon.
The World record-holder now leads with 8063 points after nine events and has a big enough lead to win the World title with an easy run in the 1500m. His World record of 9039 is well out of reach, but he can break Tomas Dvorak’s 8902 competition record by running 4:15.9 in the 1500m.
German Michael Schrader, in second place before the Javelin, produced a personal best in the ninth event, throwing 65.67m to consolidate his position with 7895.
Damian Warner of Canada is looking good for the bronze medal. The fifth placer in London last summer threw a 64.67m personal best in the Javelin and has a score of 7767 for third place. Both Schrader and Warner are 4:30 1500m runners, so there is no chance for the Canadian to catch the German in the last event.
Another German, Rico Freimuth, is in fourth place with 7688, and his Javelin competition did not go well. A 56.21m throw is just enough to keep him in the fourth place now, but he has usually been a slower runner than Schrader and Warner, so he doesn’t stand a chance for a medal here.
Instead he could be overtaken by athletes close behind him. Brazilian Carlos Chinin is in fifth place with 7682 after a 59.98m personal best in the Javelin and has to run 4:35 to set a South American record, which he now holds at 8393. Chinin is a similar-standard 1500m runner to Freimuth, so he can move to third by beating Freimuth by more than a second in the last event.
Home favourite Ilya Shkurenyov did well in the Javelin with 59.46m and is in sixth with 7670. Just one point behind him, having scored 7669, is Frenchman Kevin Mayer, who threw a big personal best of 66.06m in the Javelin.
Of the athletes currently in positions 4-7, Mayer is clearly the best 1500m runner and only needs to be three seconds faster than Freimuth and of course also beat the others between them to rise to fourth place.
Before the 1500m it’s still possible for 14 athletes to score more than 8300 points in the competition. Certainly not all of them are going to do it, probably Behrenbruch and Suarez will not be racing their best 1500m as they have both lost their medal chances, but that still leaves 12 athletes with that chance. The best ever Decathlon in this sense was at the Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta, where 10 athletes scored 8300 points or more.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF