Larbi Bourrada produced the standout performance at the Erdgas Multiple Events Meeting in Ratingen by breaking his African Record. The 24-year-old Algerian collected 8332 points and improved his mark, which he had established a year ago at the same venue, by 30 points. The meeting in Ratingen is part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
Behind Bourrada Germany’s Jan Felix Knobel took second with 8228 points. Two Cubans took third and fourth places: Yordani Garcia (8005) and Yunior Diaz (7735). Germans Maximilian Gilde (7720) and Patrick Spinner (7708) followed in fifth and sixth position.
In the Heptathlon, the German win streak in Ratingen continued. Julia Mächtig produced the sixth win in a row for the host nation. The 26 year-old achieved 6,341 points, which is a personal best as well. She was far ahead of fellow-German Maren Schwerdtner (6,000) and Ellen Sprunger (Switzerland), who took third with ,989. Ida Marcussen (Norway/5876), Linda Züblin (Switzerland/5850) and Grace Clements (Great Britain/5,685) followed. There was bad luck for Rebecca Wardell, who had been in the lead after day one. The athlete from New Zealand picked up an injury in the Long Jump and stopped competing.
DECATHLON: Weak Discus, strong Javelin for Bourrada
Defending champion Bourrada, who led from the first to the final event in Ratingen, has produced the following results on Thursday and Friday (in brackets are his marks from Ratingen a year ago): 100 m – 10.58 (10.61/w); LJ – 7.57 (7.94/w); SP – 13.64 (12.82); HJ – 2.09 (2.06); 400 m – 47.40 (48.19); 110 H – 14.78 (14.65); DT – 34.80 (40.34); PV – 4.70 (4.70); JT – 67.68 (58.05); 1,500 m – 4:24.08 (4:21.42). Remarkably Bourrada this year scored exactly the same number of points on day two as he did a year ago at this meeting (3,93). So he managed to keep the advantage of 30 points from day one.
But it did not look too promising for Bourrada at the beginning of day two. While his 14.78 seconds in the 110 m Hurdles did not do much damage on his plans of attacking the African record the Discus did: 34.80 metres almost ruined his record bid. In this event he was last out of ten competitors who had started day two. The Algerian had thrown this mark at his first attempt and then had two faults.
Garcia, who had run 14.19 seconds in the 110 m Hurdles (+ 2.4 wind), and Matthias Prey (Germany), who had thrown the Discus to 47.72 m, had achieved the best results in the first two events. It was back to his standards for Bourrada in the Pole Vault, where he cleared 4.70 m. Germans Steffen Kahlert and Lars Heinke jumped 5.00 m each.
Then Bourrada brought himself back on track for the record with a great Javelin Throw. Improving his personal best of 65.53 m by more than two metres he threw 67.68 m. With 63.40 – 67.68 – 64.65 he had a fine series as well. Only the two Germans Jan Felix Knobel (71.38), who will be Germany’s third starter besides Pascal Behrenbruch and Rico Freimuth at the Olympics in London, and Patrick Spinner (67.70) threw even better. A 4:24.08 in the final 1500 m race behind Moritz Cleve (Germany/4:23.74) was enough to break the African record and comfortably retain his title at the Erdgas Multiple Events Meeting.
HEPTATHLON: Nightmare start for Rebecca Wardell
If Bourrada had a poor performance early on day two then Rebecca Wardell’s start on Friday must be regarded as a nightmare for the athlete from New Zealand. Having taken a surprise lead with three personal bests on day one it was all over for her after the Long Jump. She has been extremely unfortunate, because her first jump was reported to have been a very good one, possibly longer than six metres, which would have been another personal best. But by mistake officials did not measure this jump and instead they started to rake while the athlete and the spectators were waiting for the result on the scoreboard. Wardell was then given an extra jump at the end of round one. She achieved 5.91 m (missing her PB by just four centimetres) in this one but injured herself and stopped.
In contrast Julia Mächtig officially jumped a personal best of 6.49 m. She improved her five year-old mark by one centimetre. This was the best jump of the day and it put her back in the lead. Maren Schwerdtner did also well in the Long Jump with 6.37 m.
Mächtig then secured her victory and Olympic selection with a 47.54 m Javelin Throw and 2:16.92 minutes in the 800 m race. In the Javelin only Linda Züblin (Switzerland) threw further than Mächtig with 49.06 m. The 800 m were won by Norway’s Ida Marcussen in 2:14.26.
Mächtig improved her three year-old personal best, which she had established in Götzis (Austria) with 6320 points, by 25 points. Taking the title in Ratingen was her biggest Heptathlon win in her career so far.