Jessica Ennis-Hill in Ratingen (© Gladys Chai von der Laage)
Jessica Ennis-Hill and Arthur Abele produced dominant victories at the Stadtwerke Ratingen Mehrkampf Meeting, a part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, on Sunday (26).
After two grueling days of competition, world and Olympic champion Ennis-Hill cemented her status as the world’s best heptathlete ahead of her title defence at the Rio Olympic Games by tallying 6733, her best result since her victory at the 2012 Olympics.
Abele meanwhile, after an impressive second day, set a world-leading mark with his PB of 8605.
Ennis-Hill on cruise control
Ennis-Hill finished day one with a solid 188-point lead over German Carolin Schafer. With weather conditions in Ratingen slightly improving, results followed suit.
On Saturday night the Briton said she was in her best shape since 2012, but that she wasn’t ready to reveal all of her proverbial cards just yet. She began to in the opening event of day two, however, when she soared to a lifetime best of 6.63m in the second round of the long jump. Visibly delighted, she produced a little jump before putting her game face back on for the javelin.
With 5039 points, Ennis was already 49 up on her result from last year’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing and didn’t look as if she was going to slow down. She produced a solid series in the javelin with a best of 44.37m, almost two metres farther than her best effort in the Bird’s Nest, to extend her tally to 5790.
Ennis-Hill finished off with a 2:11.46 run and outright win in the 800m for a 6733-point total, 64 better than at last summer’s World Championships and just 32 behind Brianne Theisen-Eaton’s world lead from Gotzis last month.
Schafer was never in the hunt for victory, but produced another promising pre-Rio performance with 6476 to finish second with her third-best score ever. The 25-year-old German reached 6.27m in the long jump, just four centimetres shy of her personal best, before throwing a lifetime best of 50.73m in the javelin. A 2:16.93 run in the 800m completed the day for her.
Despite a huge 47.28m in the javelin – an improvement of more than five metres from her performance in Gotzis last month – Jennifer Oeser’s hopes of achieving the 6200-point Olympic qualifying standard slipped away. She was a distant third with 6058, but remains hopeful that her 6308 tally from Beijing will be enough for selectors to award her the third ticket to Rio alongside Schafer and Claudia Rath.
Breakthrough for Abele
On the men’s side, the competition continued where it left off yesterday with the two Germans Abele and Kai Kazmirek waging a close battle for victory.
Kazmirek began the day 125 points ahead with 4391, but Abele narrowed the gap with a 14.09 performance in the 110m hurdles. He said it wasn’t the smoothest of races. “Three times I thought that’s it. But the main thing is that I got those points.”
At 14.40, Kazmirek, a former European U23 champion, maintained a narrow 79-point lead, but it was always going to be close with Abele known for his abilities in the throws. He confirmed exactly that with a 46.20m effort in the discus to improve his lifetime best by more than one-and-a-half metres to retake the lead with 6023. Conversely, Kazmirek wasn’t satisfied with a sub-par 40.59m performance.
The battle for the top spot became even more interesting in the pole vault where Kazmirek was the only athlete to clear 5.00m, while Abele narrowly missed at the height after success at 4.90m. Just one point separated the pair heading into the last two events.
In the javelin, Abele went all-in after a first-round no-throw and was rewarded with his third PB of the competition. The 29-year-old launched the javelin to a meeting record of 71.89m to move 188 points clear of Kazmirek, who could only manage 59.54m.
With a 4:15.35 1500m PB, Abele knew he was on course to better his 8477 career best set at the 2014 European Championships. He clocked 4:24.12 for 784 points to improve his personal best beyond the 8600-point barrier and to succeed Canada’s Damian Warner (8523) as the world leader.
Despite his struggles in the throws, Kazmirek improved his season’s best to 8323. Dutchman Pelle Rietveld was a distant third with 7659.
Michelle Sammet for the IAAF