Sebrle congratulated by his opponents in the Decathlon (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Valencia, Spain

Men’s and Women’s Combined Events PREVIEW – Valencia 2008

We conclude our threepart summary examining the expected highlights of this weekend’s 12th IAAF World Indoor Championships, Valencia, Spain (7 – 9 March), with the Combined Events competitions.

The other Men's and Women’s track and field competitions are analysed in separate previews.


NB. Official Start Lists will only become available after the Technical meeting which takes place at 16:00hrs on Thursday 6 March, therefore previews are correct as of date of writing (3 March).

Men’s Heptathlon

The men’s entries for the 12th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia promise one of the most even competitions in championship history. Five of the eight competitors are within 100 points on the 2008 world indoor list and this does not include the winner of the 2007 World Championships Decathlon in Osaka, Roman Sebrle (CZE). The reigning World Indoor Champion André Niklaus (GER) is not competing this time, but silver medallist Bryan Clay (USA) and bronze medallist Sebrle are in the competition.

Sadly, Maurice Smith, the silver medallist at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, was withdrawn from the competition by the Jamaican federation on February 29 because of a recent injury. Following a last minute invitation by the IAAF, Estonian, Andres Raja (Heptathlon  PB  5949pts, Tallinn 3 Feb 2008), presently 9th on the indoor season lists, has accepted to fill the vacant place in the eight man competition.

It goes without saying that there is no clear favourite for the gold medal this time although Bryan Clay’s 6192 points in a low-key meet in Ames, Iowa, in February shows that he has overcome injuries and might just be the number one candidate for the top podium. Clay is one of four competitors with prior World Indoor Championships experience and is looking to brighten his medal colour from silvers in 2004 and 2006. The American is extremely efficient in major championships when he can finish the competition and has finished in the top two in each of four major competitions where he got a result in every event. Clay won the 2005 World Championships Decathlon in Helsinki and was the silver medallist at the 2004 Olympics. But he has had his share of bad luck as well with three unfinished decathlons in World Championships 2001, 2003 and 2007.

Czech Roman Sebrle, the World record holder in decathlon, is the most experienced in the field has a medal from each of the five World Indoor Championships he has attended. Sebrle has wins from 2001 and 2004 and bronze medal in 1999, 2003 and 2006. But age is doing damage to the master as well, and reigning Olympic champion has to raise his level from earlier competitions this season if he wants to get another medal here. Sebrle has also won three European indoor titles and two European outdoor titles in Decathlon.

The world leading pair from the Tallinn competition – Andrei Krauchanka (BLR) and Dmitriy Karpov (KAZ), both with 6229 points, come to the competition from a very different starting point. 26-year-old Karpov was fourth in his only World Indoor Championships in Budapest 2004 and has bronze medals from Olympics in 2004 and World Championships in 2003 and 2007. 22-year-old Krauchanka was the early world leader in Decathlon in 2007, but his Osaka competition was ruined in the first event when he didn’t finish the 100m race. The Belarussians only senior achievement is a bronze medal at the 2007 European Indoor Championships and a good finish in this competition might start a series of medals for the youngest athlete of the field.

Aleksandr Pogorelov (RUS) has competed in three previous World Indoor Championships and finished sixth in each of them. Mikhail Logvinenko (RUS) and Donovan Kilmartin (USA) both enter their first ever major championships, indoors or outdoors. Kilmartin has never competed in heptathlon outside the USA and has won his last five competitions and 9/11 in career.

Women’s Pentathlon

Pentathlon entries for Valencia promise a tricky competition for the women. The field is even more even than the men’s. Calculating from the 2008 marks the first six are within only 54 points and Kelly Sotherton (GBR) and Austra Skujyte (LTU) are certainly able to challenge the others.

The number one heptathlete in the world, Carolina Klüft (SWE), is not competing, but the competition for the medals will be fierce and might even produce the best ever results in this competition. The reigning World Indoor Champion Lyudmyla Blonska is the world leader this season and has progressed well after the Moscow gold. The Ukrainian took the silver from Osaka World Championships last summer with a 6832p national record and has scored 4771 NR indoors this season in pentathlon.

But even with Blonska being the reigning champion and 2008 world leader, she is not the biggest favourite in the event. That has to be 31-year-old Briton Kelly Sotherton, who surprisingly will be attending her first World Indoor Championships in Valencia. Sotherton has two European Indoor silver medals behind Klüft in 2005 and 2007 and scored a massive personal best in Birmingham last year losing to the Swede by only 17 points with 4927 total points. This season Sotherton has already set a personal best 8.17s over the 60m hurdles and looks to be in good form before the championships.

The women composing the Pentathlon field in Valencia are extremely new to the World Indoor Championships. Four athletes are entering their first champs and the other four have only competed once before. Besides Blonska, who won in 2006, there are two others who have won a medal before. Natalya Dobrynska (UKR) was second in 2004 and Austra Skujyte (LTU) took the bronze in the same competition in Budapest. Skujyte won the Lithuanian indoor title with a modest 4492 points, but scored 4740p last year and Dobrynska has set a personal best 4758p this year.

Tia Hellebaut (BEL) is the European indoor champion and outdoor champion as well, but not in multi-events – she won the high jump outdoors 2006 and indoors 2007. The Belgian has competed at the World Indoor Championships once, in 2004 Budapest where she was fifth. The other three competitors have very little experience from major championships. Karolina Tyminska (POL) set a big personal best 4769p this season and has competed in two European Indoor Championships, in 2005 she was 8th and 7th in 2007. Her only worldwide competition is the Osaka heptathlon where she finished in 17th place.

Tatyana Chernova (RUS) is the 2006 World Junior Champion in heptathlon and was one of the favourites for the Osaka heptathlon last summer, but could not live up to the expectations there and did not finish the competition. Fellow Russian Anna Bogdanova was 10th in that same competition in Osaka and 13th at the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham 2007, but has scored an impressive 4762p personal best this season.

Carolina Klüft’s competition record 4933p from Birmingham 2003 might still stand after this competition, but the best silver medal score 4727 by Dobrynska in Budapest and best bronze score 4679 by Skujyte in Budapest will be probably be wiped off the record lists in this competition.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF


Roman Sebrle CZE – 6th World Indoor Championships

PB: 6438 European record in 2004 SB: 5892

Individual events (indoors)

60m: PB: 6.91 in 1999 SB: 7.12
Long jump: PB: 7.97 in 2000 SB: 7.58
Shot: PB: 16.28 in 2004 SB: 15.79
High jump: PB: 2.13 in 1998 SB: 2.07
60m hurdles: PB: 7.84 in 2000 SB: 8.11
Pole vault: PB: 5.05 in 2004 SB: 4.60
1000m: PB: 2:37.86 in 2001 SB: 2:55.49

Andrei Krauchanka BLR – 1st World Indoor Championships

PB: 6229 National record in 2008 SB: 6229

Individual events (indoors)

60m: PB: 7.03 in 2008 SB: 7.03
Long jump: PB: 7.69 in 2008 SB: 7.69
Shot: PB: 14.11 in 2008 SB: 14.11
High jump: PB: 2.19 in 2005 SB: 2.16
60m hurdles: PB: 8.04 in 2007 SB: 8.05
Pole vault: PB: 4.90 in 2007 SB: 4.85
1000m: PB: 2:39.92 in 2005 SB: 2:41.84

Dmitriy Karpov KAZ – 2nd World Indoor Championships

PB: 6229 Asian record in 2008 SB: 6229

Individual events (indoors)

60m: PB: 7.04 in 2004 SB: 7.07
Long jump: PB: 7.99 in 2004 SB: 7.21
Shot: PB: 16.23 in 2008 SB: 16.23
High jump: PB: 2.12 in 2002 SB: 2.07
60m hurdles: PB: 7.79 in 2003 SB: 7.99
Pole vault: PB: 5.15 in 2008 SB: 5.15
1000m: PB: 2:42.34 in 2004 SB: 2:43.69

Bryan Clay USA – 3rd World Indoor Championships

PB: 6365 in 2004 SB: 6192 (oversized track)

Individual events (indoors)

60m: PB: 6.65 in 2004 SB: 6.77
Long jump: PB: 7.78 in 2004 SB:
Shot: PB: 15.91 in 2008 SB: 15.91
High jump: PB: 2.10 in 2006 SB: 2.10
60m hurdles: PB: 7.74 in 2008 SB: 7.74
Pole vault: PB: 5.15 in 2008 SB: 5.15
1000m: PB: 2:49.41 in 2008 SB: 3:06.39 (oversized track)

Aleksandr Pogorelov RUS – 4th World Indoor Championships

PB: 6229 in 2006 SB: 6136

Individual events (indoors)

60m: PB: 6.90 in 2006 SB: 7.09
Long jump: PB: 7.80 in 2008 SB: 7.80
Shot: PB: 16.12 in 2005 SB: 15.73
High jump: PB: 2.11 in 2003 SB: 2.09
60m hurdles: PB: 7.93 in 2006 SB: 8.08
Pole vault: PB: 5.10 in 2005 SB: 4.90
1000m: PB: 2:52.16 in 2007 SB: 2:52.95

Mikhail Logvinenko RUS – 1st World Indoor Championships

PB: 6129 in 2008 SB: 6129

Individual events (indoors)

60m: PB: 7.13 in 2008 SB: 7.13
Long jump: PB: 7.59 in 2008 SB: 7.59
Shot: PB: 14.47 in 2008 SB: 14.47
High jump: PB: 2.00 in 2005/8 SB: 2.00
60m hurdles: PB: 7.94 in 2008 SB: 7.94
Pole vault: PB: 5.00 in 2008 SB: 5.00
1000m: PB: 2:40.50 in 2008 SB: 2:40.50

Donovan Kilmartin USA – 1st World Indoor Championships

PB: 6136 in 2004 SB: 6008

Individual events (indoors)

60m: PB: 7.05 in 2004 SB: 7.08
Long jump: PB: 7.56 in 2006 SB: 7.52
Shot: PB: 14.58 in 2007 SB: 14.39
High jump: PB: 2.17 in 2003 SB: 2.06
60m hurdles: PB: 8.09 in 2006 SB: 8.16
Pole vault: PB: 5.40 in 2004 SB: 5.25
1000m: PB: 2:49.40 in 2005 SB: 2:56.15


Women’s Pentathlon

Lyudmila Blonska UKR – 2nd World Indoor Championships

PB: 4771 in 2008 SB: 4771

Individual events (indoors)

60m hurdles: PB: 8.26 in 2008 SB: 8.26
High jump: PB: 1.85 in 2000 SB: 1.81
Shot: PB: 14.31 in 2008 SB: 14.31
Long jump: PB: 6.57 in 2008 SB: 6.57
800m: PB: 2:16.00 in 2005 SB: 2:16.00

Kelly Sotherton GBR – 1st World Indoor Championships

PB: 4927 in 2007 SB:

Individual events (indoors)

60m hurdles: PB: 8.17 in 2008 SB: 8.17
High jump: PB: 1.88 in 2007 SB: 1.79
Shot: PB: 14.57 in 2007 SB: 14.00
Long jump: PB: 6.57 in 2007 SB: 6.41
800m: PB: 2:12.54 in 2007 SB:

Austra Skujyte LTU – 2nd World Indoor Championships

PB: 4740 in 2007 SB: 4492

Individual events (indoors)

60m hurdles: PB: 8.69 in 2004 SB: 8.94
High jump: PB: 1.89 in 2006 SB: 1.84
Shot: PB: 16.99 in 2002 SB: 16.62
Long jump: PB: 6.39 in 2005 SB: 6.14
800m: PB: 2:16.21 in 2007 SB: 2:25.35

Karolina Tyminska POL – 1st World Indoor Championships

PB: 4769 in 2008 SB: 4769

Individual events (indoors)

60m hurdles: PB: 8.50 in 2008 SB: 8.50
High jump: PB: 1.72 in 2008 SB: 1.72
Shot: PB: 15.11 in 2008 SB: 15.11
Long jump: PB: 6.54 in 2008 SB: 6.54
800m: PB: 2:06.72 in 2008 SB: 2:06.72

Anna Bogdanova RUS – 1st World Indoor Championships

PB: 4762 in 2008 SB: 4762

Individual events (indoors)

60m hurdles: PB: 8.32 in 2008 SB: 8.32
High jump: PB: 1.85 in 2007 SB: 1.83
Shot: PB: 14.15 in 2008 SB: 14.15
Long jump: PB: 6.51 in 2008 SB: 6.51
800m: PB: 2:15.06 in 2008 SB: 2:15.06

Nataliya Dobrynska UKR – 2nd World Indoor Championships

PB: 4762 in 2008 SB: 4762

Individual events (indoors)

60m hurdles: PB: 8.39 in 2006 SB: 8.43
High jump: PB: 1.85 in 2007 SB: 1.75
Shot: PB: 17.06 in 2008 SB: 17.06
Long jump: PB: 6.49 in 2006 SB: 6.36
800m: PB: 2:18.11 in 2008 SB: 2:18.11

Tia Hellebaut BEL – 2nd World Indoor Championships

PB: 4877 in 2007 SB: 4745

Individual events (indoors)

60m hurdles: PB: 8.34 in 2007 SB: 8.44
High jump: PB: 2.05 in 2007 SB: 1.98
Shot: PB: 13.62 in 2007 SB: 12.89
Long jump: PB: 6.42 in 2007 SB: 6.36
800m: PB: 2:15.13 in 2007 SB: 2:16.44

Tatyana Chernova RUS – 1st World Indoor Championships

PB: 4717 in 2008 SB: 4717

Individual events (indoors)

60m hurdles: PB: 8.38 in 2008 SB: 8.38
High jump: PB: 1.78 in 2008 SB: 1.78
Shot: PB: 12.80 in 2008 SB: 12.80
Long jump: PB: 6.61 in 2008 SB: 6.61
800m: PB: 2:10.10 in 2008 SB: 2:10.10