Gotzis, AustriaBritish superstar Jessica Ennis and Belgian surprise Hans van Alphen are the overnight leaders at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis, the Austrian leg of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
After the first day of action both are on schedule to break their personal bests. Ennis produced excellent performances in the 100m Hurdles (12.81 meeting record) and in the 200m (22.88 beaten by Dafne Schippers’ 22.73) and a solid 14.51m release in the Shot Put.
Van Alphen, who started the Hypo Meeting with a 8200 PB set last year in Talence, is more than 200 points ahead of his PB. The Belgian scored 4334 points with three PBs (his complete series: 10.96 PB in the 100m, 7.62m PB in the Long Jump, 15.23m in the Shot Put, 2.06m PB in the High Jump and 49.54 in the 400m). He leads with a gap of 81 points over German Rico Freimuth. The competition is wide open with just 11 points separating second placer Freimuth and fifth placer Eelco Sintnicolaas and anything can happen in the always surprising second day.
The first day of the Hypo Meeting was held on a fantastic warm and sunny day.
Ennis got off to a flying start with an outstanding 12.81 (1153 points) meeting record in the 100m Hurdles which took 0.06 off the previous stadium best time set by Hyleas Fountain of the U.S. in 2010. Canadian Jessica Zelinka also clocked a very fast 13.02 which narrowly missed her PB by 0.05 (1121 points) for second place. Belgium’s Sara Aerts finished third in 13.09 ahead of 2011 World champion Tatyana Chernova (13.34).
The British star cleared 1.85m in the High Jump (1041 points) before failing three attempts at 1.88m and kept her overall lead with 2194 points. The High Jump featured three women clearing 1.91m. Yana Maksimaya of Belarus jumped 1.9m to win on countback over Sarah Cowley from New Zealand, who improved her PB from a previous best of 1.84m, and World Indoor silver medallist Austra Skujte who added one centimetre to her PB. Behind Ennis the major upset in the overall ranking was Cowley who took second place with 2095 points, 99 points behind Ennis. Maksimava followed in third place with 2082 points ahead of Skujte (2072 points), five more than Chernova (1.82m). Olympic and World Indoor champion Nataliya Dobrynska started slowly and was 14th after two events with 1986 points.
The Shot Put produced a major upset as Skujte, winner in her favourite event with 16.49m (961 points), took the overall lead with 3033 points overhauling Ennis who produced a best release to 14.51m in her second attempt and was 11 points behind the Lithuanian, The other major change to the overall ranking was produced by 2011 European Indoor champion Antoinette Nana Djimou who climbed from sixth into third place thanks to her 14.62m effort. Dobrynska caught up positions after a patchy start and moved into fourth with 2888 points following her 15.61m in the Shot Put.
Skujte clocked 25.32 in the first heat of the 200m. Her provisional lead did not last very long as Ennis retook command after the last 200m heat in which she finished second with a remarkable 22.88 PB behind Dutch World and European Junior champion Dafne Schippers who came close to her PB with an impressive 22.73, just 0.04 off her lifetime best set at the World Championships in Daegu where she reached the semifinals in the event.
Ennis capped her first day with 4113 points, 33 points ahead of her PB schedule. Skujte sits in second with 3892 point. Chernova ended day one with a solid 23.49 (1030 points) and is now third after four events with 3884 points, just eight behind Skujte. Zelinka ran 23.48 (1030 points) to close the first day in fourth place with 3876 points. Schippers rounded out the top-five ranking with 3839 points.
"I am definitely happy with my performance. I feel in good shape. I just want to make sure to recover well and come back tomorrow," Ennis said. "I don’t think about the British record (6831 points set by Denise Lewis), but I just want to produce solid performances. The High Jump was a bit frustrating but I am happy with my 14.51m in the Shot Put which is a solid performance. It was nice to have a good start in my favourite hurdles event. The 200 metres was a great race. Schippers is a great runner."
Canadian Damian Warner was the fastest in the 100m with 10.59 for 954 points in headwind conditions (-0.7 m/s). German Rico Freimuth, son of past Gotzis winner Uwe Freimuth, ran 10.62 (947 points).
Belgium’s van Alphen leapt to a new PB of 7.62 in the Long Jump (965 points). German Michael Schrader, who sensationally won in Gotzis in 2009 before being sidelined by a injuries, jumped 7.61m (962 points) and took the overall lead with 1859 points after the first two events (he clocked 10.64 in the 100m) with a gap of 24 points over van Alphen. Eduard Mikhan (10.66 in the 100m and 7.29m in the Long Jump) took third place with 1816 points.
Van Alphen took the overall lead with a total of 2639 points after a solid release to 15.23m in the Shot Put. Freimuth improved his PB in a decathlon competition to 15.14m and moved into second with 2597 points, 42 less than van Alphen. Mikhan (14.64m in the Shot Put) kept his third place with 2584 points. Schrader could not do better than 13.47m and faded into fifth place with 2555 points, 16 points behind Czech Republic’s Adam Sebastian Helcelet (10.90 in the 100m, 7.34m in the Long Jump and 14.99m in the Shot Put). Pascal Behrenbruch won the Shot Put with 16.36m and climbed into sixth with 2538 points.
Van Alphen set a new PB in the High Jump at 2.06m (859 points) which helped him to keep the first place with a gap of 99 points over Helcelet who cleared 2.03m (831 points). Ingmar Vos from The Netherlands, ninth after the Shot Put, equalled his High Jump best at 2.06m to move into third with 3374 points, five more than Pascal Behrenbruch (2.03m).
Van Alphen defended his overall lead with 4334 points at the end of the 400m where he clocked 49.54 (836 points) in the second heat. Freimuth set his new 400m PB with 47.51 (953 points) behind Cuba’s winner Yunior Diaz (47.16) and ranks overnight second with 4253 points, one more than Helcelet who clocked 49.18.