Ashton Eaton after clocking 45.00 in the decathlon 400m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (© Getty Images)
It was clear from the first four decathlon events that Ashton Eaton was in great form, but his run in the 400m suggested that he is in the best shape of his life.
For a world record-holder, that’s saying a lot.
In the final event of day one, the 400m, Eaton smashed the oldest decathlon world best in the books. With a perfectly timed run, and without easing off until the finish, Eaton stopped the clock at 45.00, taking 0.68 off the decathlon world best set by Bill Toomey at the 1968 Olympics in the rarefied air of Mexico City.
The addition of 1060 points from the 400m brought Eaton’s day-one total to 4703, putting him on pace to challenge his world record of 9039.
Germany’s Kai Kazmirek was dragged around to a season’s best of 46.83 in second place with team-mate Michael Schrader clocking a PB of 47.12 in third. They are currently fourth and fifth respectively in the overall standings, but the battle for bronze is wide open and they will be in the medal hunt throughout day too.
Compatriot Rico Freimuth is in third place overall with 4406 points after running 47.82 in the 400m and he too will be fighting for a podium place tomorrow.
Canada’s Damian Warner, meanwhile, appears to be comfortably ahead of everyone, Eaton aside of course. He covered one lap of the track in 47.30 and reaches the halfway stage of the competition with 4530 points.
Russia’s European indoor champion Ilya Shkurenev is in ninth place overall with 4338, but always comes on strong on the second day and is very much a medal threat. So too is Algeria’s Larbi Bourrada, who is currently in sixth after his 47.60 season’s best in the 400m.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF