USA's Ashton Eaton celebrates after winning gold in the heptathlon in Istanbul (© Getty Images)
Ashton Eaton came into these championships knowing he was in the best shape of his life and so it proved when the 24-year-old concluded his Heptathlon with a superb tally of 6645 improving his own World record by 77 points.
Coming into the final event of the day, Eaton had to run the 1000m in 2:39.54 or less in order to break his 6568-point standard. Owing to his personal best 2:32.66 the whole Atakoy Arena was expecting Eaton to treat them to their second World record in two days, yet all was down to the man from Eugene as he could count on no other man in the field to help him set the pace.
Just like he had done in all previous events, Eaton competed virtually on his own such was his standard and he eventually crossed the line in 2:32.77, the next best across the line being Ilya Shkurenev almost nine seconds behind!
It was Eaton’s third World record in three years after he first set the global mark in Fayetteville in 2010 and still there remains a big margin of improvement!
In an incredible competition, Eaton won five individual events, improved his Long Jump and Shot Put personal bests and amassed a huge 574 points lead over silver medal winner Oleksiy Kasyanov, which is by far the biggest ever winning margin in the history of these championships.
Other superlatives which will read next to Eatons’ name include the longest ever Long Jump and fastest ever 1000m recorded in a Heptathlon World champ; incidentally he already held the fastest 60m Hurdles time!
A World silver medallist in Daegu last year, Eaton describes himself as more suited for the Indoor Combined Events but gives himself another couple of years before he can be “as good a decathlete.”
Interestingly the last time that the Pentathlon and Heptathlon World records were broken at the same competition was back in 1990 when Odile Lesage and Christian Plaziat scored 4215 and 6273 points respectively in Nogent sur Oise.
From now on the names to remember are those of Natallia Dobrynska and Ashton Eaton!
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF