Simon Ehammer in the decathlon long jump in Ratingen (© Imago)
Results including a world decathlon best of 8.30m in the long jump helped Simon Ehammer on his way to a Swiss record of 8354 points, while Sophie Wiessenberg maintained her lead to win the heptathlon ahead of her German compatriot Carolin Schafer at the Stadtwerke Ratingen Mehrkampf-Meeting this weekend (7-8).
On the first day of the World Athletics Combined Events Gold fixture, Ehammer returned to competition for the first time since taking world indoor silver in Belgrade and broke the Swiss long jump record that had stood for almost 20 years, giving the 22-year-old a lead that he would not relinquish.
His competition had started with a 10.65 run in the 100m – the fastest of the day – before he followed it with his record-breaking leap.
On a day when most other jumpers struggled to produce big marks – the next-best athlete, Malik Diakite, jumped 7.35m – Ehammer improved with each round, opening with 7.69m, improving to 7.97m and then finishing with his mammoth effort.
Olympic decathlon champion Damian Warner owned the previous world decathlon best with the 8.28m he jumped en route to his victory in Götzis last year.
Another meeting record fell in the next event, this time thanks to Nico Beckers, who heaved his shot out to a lifetime best of 16.63m. Overall leader Ehammer threw an outdoor PB of 14.68m, but world champion Niklas Kaul and 2017 world bronze medallist Kai Kazmirek – as had been the case in the first two disciplines – finished further down the field, throwing 13.73m and 13.78m respectively, some way off their best form.
German champion Tim Nowak moved up the field after the high jump, thanks to his outdoor PB clearance of 2.07m. Ehammer was close behind, scaling 2.04m to maintain his overall lead.
In the 400m, the final decathlon discipline of the first day, Kaul and Kazmirek took a few strides out of their blocks once the gun had fired but then stepped off the track. Kaul later explained that he had a headache and felt dizzy.
Ehammer clocked a solid 48.30 to bring his score to 4583 – 125 points up on the pace from his 8231 PB score from two years ago. Germany’s Malik Diakite uncorked a huge PB of 46.76 in the 400m to break the meeting record.
Beckers finished the first day in second place overall with 4320, some 263 points adrift, while Marcel Meyer was third with 4111.
Ehammer picked up from where he left off at the start of day two, going quickest by a big margin in the 110m hurdles with 13.75.
Sweden’s Marcus Nilsson was the dominant force in the discus, throwing 46.88m for a mark more than two metres further than any of his rivals. Another PB performance helped Ehammer to maintain his lead, the Swiss rising star throwing 39.13m to add almost three metres to his previous best.
Ehammer was then among the three athletes to soar clear at 5.00m in the pole vault, with Nowak matching his outdoor PB and Nilsson also managing the height. The leader remained on target for a Swiss record, with two events to go.
Germany’s Jan Ruhrmann was a class apart in the javelin, adding three metres to his PB with 66.75m, as Ehammer threw 53.01m.
As they lined up for the 1500m, the Swiss record and a qualifying score for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 remained in reach for the leader. Running 4:57.55, Ehammer crossed the finish line victorious – improving the Swiss record by more than 100 points and surpassing the standard for Oregon by four points.
Nilsson ended his strong second day with the fastest time of 4:20.02 and moved up a place into fourth (7927) behind Ehammer, Nowak (8160) and Beckers (7940).
“Those were two incredibly beautiful days,” said Ehammer. “A great start to the season in a great atmosphere. The long jump was of course the best – I didn't think I could jump 8.30m at such an early stage.
“It was my first decathlon since 2020, so of course it's awesome to start with a Swiss record and World Championships standard.”
He will next compete in Götzis later this month.
“I know that I can do even more in all disciplines and that I want more."
Weissenberg reigns in Ratingen
In the heptathlon, 2019 European U23 silver medallist Weissenberg held a narrow lead overnight but with just 76 points separating the top three contenders, there was still everything to play for.
At the start of day one, 2017 world silver medallist Schafer took an early lead after running 13.57 in the 100m hurdles. France’s Leonie Cambours was close behind with 13.58 and Weissenberg was third overall with 13.78.
Cambours then cleared 1.80m in the high jump, giving her the overall lead from Weissenberg, who managed 1.77m. A 1.71m leap from Schafer meant she dropped down the standings briefly.
USA’s Shaina Burns entered the fray with a 14.70m heave in the shot, elevating her to fourth overall, close behind Weissenberg (who threw 13.59m), Schaefer (13.98m) and Cambours (12.04m).
Weissenberg extended her lead thanks to a 24.03 clocking in the 200m – the fastest of the day – giving her a bit more breathing room over Schafer (24.40) and Cambours (24.44). Weissenberg ended the day with 3696, while Schafer was second (3643) and Cambours third (3620).
Weissenberg is the 2016 world U20 long jump silver medallist and she showed her strength in that discipline at the start of day two, leaping 6.21m. That was the second-best mark behind Lovisa Karlsson’s 6.27m – the performance moving the Swedish athlete into fifth place. Weissenberg remained at the top of the standings, while Cambours overtook Schafer and moved into second place.
A 48.00m javelin throw by Weissenberg was the best of the competition and Schafer regained second place with one event to go, throwing 47.81m – 170 points separating the top two.
A time of 2:17 was needed in the 800m for Weissenberg to improve her overall PB and while that was out of reach, she did more than enough for victory and ran 2:18.72 for her 6273-point score – a qualifying standard for the European Championships on home soil.
Schafer’s 2:13.95 PB contributed to her 6170-point tally for second place, while Cambours was third with 5933.
"I'm incredibly happy, because I didn't think I would win in Ratingen,” said Weissenberg. “The atmosphere was incredibly good.” Her aim now will be the World Championships standard of 6420 in Götzis.