The first track event of any championships can tell a lot about how fast the surface is. So if anyone was wondering if the newly laid Mondo inside the Bird’s Nest Stadium was any good, the heptathletes answered that question with a resounding “yes” at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015.
They let their feet do the talking, of course, as eight athletes set personal bests. Fastest in the field was world junior bronze medallist, who smashed her PB in the fourth and quickest heat with 12.81, running into a -0.7m/s headwind.
Her time was just 0.03 shy of the fastest time ever achieved within a World Championships heptathlon and a further 0.01 short of the Dutch record set back in 1989, six years before Visser was born.
Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill clocked 12.91 to finish second to Visser, while heptathlon world leader Brianne Theisen Eaton set a PB of 12.98 in third.
The biggest surprise in this event was that defending champion Hanna Kasyanova did not start. Ever since winning in Moscow two years ago, the Ukrainian has struggled with injuries and withdrew from her last heptathlon before Beijing.
Another notable casualty was US champion Barbara Nwaba. She hit a hurdle and tried to get going again, but then clipped another barrier and crashed to the ground.
The rest of the round went largely to the form book. Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece-Admina won her heat in a PB of 13.21 with Grit Sadeiko and Katarina Johnson-Thompson finishing in third and fourth in 13.36 and 13.37 respectively, a PB for the latter.
Of the other medal contenders, Germany’s Carolin Schafer clocked a season’s best of 13.40, finishing just in front of compatriot Claudia Rath, whose 13.44 was a PB. World indoor champion Nadine Broersen was a further 0.11 behind.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF