Oleksiy Kasyanov in the decathlon long jump (© Getty Images)
Eight years after his debut appearance at the European Combined Events Team Championships, two-time world indoor silver medallist Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine is on course for his first victory in the super league division of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting after a solid opening day in Tallinn on Saturday (1).
On a day of strong winds and wet weather in the Estonian capital, Kasyanov trailed Karl Robert Saluri for the first three events after the Estonian clocked 10.64 (-1.1m/s) in the 100m, long jumped 7.43m and threw 13.64m in the shot.
But Kasyanov, who had recorded marks of 10.76, 7.31m and 14.55m in his opening three events, look the overall lead after clearing 1.98m in the high jump as Saluri managed just 1.83m. A 49.02 run in the 400m meant the Ukrainian maintained his lead over Saluri, who clocked 49.00.
Kasyanov amassed 4210 points to Saluri’s 4080. Estonia’s Janek Oiglane went from 14th to seventh to fourth and then second after the first four events. A 51.41 run in the 400m meant that he dropped back down one place and he is currently in third overall with 4078.
While a vastly experienced decathlete leads the men’s contest, a teenager tops the overnight standings in the women’s heptathlon.
Not just any teenager, though. Switzerland’s world U18 champion Geraldine Ruckstuhl renewed her rivalry with European U18 champion Alina Shukh of Ukraine and came out on top at the end of the first day.
France’s Esther Turpin was the fastest in the 100m hurdles, clocking 13.61 into a -2.6m/s headwind. In tough conditions, Ruckstuhl and Shukh both finished well outside 14 seconds, but knew they had better events to come.
Indeed, the teenage duo provided the two best marks in the high jump with Shukh clearing 1.81m to take the overall lead and Ruckstuhl moving into second place after leaping 1.78m. They maintained those positions after the shot put, where Shukh managed 13.47m and Ruckstuhl threw 12.68m.
As in the hurdles, strong winds put paid to any fast times in the final event of the day, the 200m. But Ruckstuhl’s 25.04 was enough to put her in pole position with 3470, 24 points ahead of Yuliya Rout of Belarus.
Shukh dropped to fourth overall with 3425 after clocking 26.14 in the 200m, but both she and Ruckstuhl are strong second-day performers and will continue to battle for top honours on Sunday.
Urena aiming for home victory
The Spanish city of Monzon is hosting the first and second leagues of the European Combined Events Team Championships and hopes of a home victory are high.
In the first league, European indoor silver medallist Jorge Urena took the lead from the strong-starting Bas Markies of the Netherlands after clearing 2.04m in the high jump. A 49.62 run in the 400m brought Urena’s total to 4162, giving him a 53-point lead over Markies at the end of the first day.
Czech record-holder Eliska Klucinova leads the women’s first league heptathlon from 2014 world indoor champion Nadine Broersen of the Netherlands.
Just one point separated the duo after the high jump with Klucinova holding a narrow lead, but Broersen reversed the order after throwing 14.35m to Klucinova’s 14.07m in the shot put. Klucinova regained the lead at the end of the day, though, after covering 200m in 24.72, 0.61 quicker than Broersen’s effort.
It brought Klucinova’s tally to 3752, just 76 points shy of her day-one score at the recent IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting in Kladno. Broersen is a close second with 3713.
Caterina Kachova, the winner in Kladno, produced the fastest time of the day in the opening event, the 100m hurdles, but didn’t start for the 200m and so will take no further part in the competition.
In the second league, Norway’s Martin Roe leads the decathlon from Belgium’s Niels Pittomvils at the end of the first day. His score of 4180 is just two points shy of his day-one tally from when he set his lifetime best of 7875 in 2015.
Helped by a massive 16.08m effort in the shot, Lithuania’s 2004 Olympic silver medallist Austra Skujyte leads the heptathlon from Norway’s Charlotte Abrahamsen, 3446 to 3428.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF