Dutch heptathlete Nadine Broersen (© Getty Images)
Russia may have won the overall title at the European Cup Combined Events Super League in the Polish city of Torun, but the individual victories in the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting went to Dutch pair Nadine Broersen and Eelco Sintnicolaas on Saturday and Sunday (6-7).
World indoor champion Broersen added three points to the PB she set earlier this year in Gotzis to win the heptathlon with 6539, while European indoor champion Sintnicolaas won the decathlon with 8156, just five points shy of the season’s best he set when winning at the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting in Florence earlier this year.
Broersen opened with 13.57 in the 100m hurdles and then hopped to the top of the overall standings after clearing 1.87m in the high jump. European indoor bronze medallist Yana Maksimava excelled in that event, as she often does, clearing 1.90m to move into second place overall.
European champion Antoinette Nana Djimou, competing in her first heptathlon of the year, was some way below her best in the 100m hurdles (13.59) and high jump (1.75m) but jumped into contention after the shot, in which she managed 14.65m, her best ever mark in a heptathlon.
But Broersen held on to her lead after hurling the shot 13.89m, while Russia’s Aleksandra Butvina also moved up the rankings after her 15.13m effort.
Running into a -1.6m/s headwind, Djimou again finished ahead of Broersen in the 200m, 24.69 to 25.09, but Broersen still held a comfortable 68-point lead overnight with a score of 3773.
Broersen flew out to 6.31m in the long jump, the first event of the second day, to distance herself from the rest of the field, and her margin only got bigger in the javelin.
The 24-year-old threw her spear 51.96m, more than three metres farther than Maksimava. Djimou, a 57-metre thrower at best, was some 10 metres short of her best form and had to settle for 47.31m.
By the time of the 800m, Broersen had a 273-point lead over Djimou. But of all people, Broersen – who was disqualified from the pentathlon 800m at the 2013 European Indoor Championships and then fell in the heptathlon 100m hurdles at the 2013 IAAF World Championships – knows not to take anything for granted in the combined events.
Fortunately for her, everything went to plan in the final event and she covered two laps of the track in 2:12.94, bringing her tally to a PB of 6539, just six points shy of the national record set earlier this year by compatriot Dafne Schippers.
Djimou held on to second place after covering the 800m in 2:16.80, scoring 6212. Maksimava, who had ended the first day in fifth place, continued to climb up the standings and eventually finished third with a score of 6173. Estonia’s Grit Sadeiko was fourth with 6128.
Russian duo Anna Blank and Butvina both finished in the top six with respective marks of 5990 and 5887; points that would prove to be valuable in the overall team scoring.
Sintnicolaas streaks ahead on day two
In contrast to the women’s competition, in which Broersen led from the second event all the way until the end, eventual winner Eelco Sintnicolaas only took the lead in the decathlon after eight events.
Russia’s Sergey Sviridov was the early leader. After running 11.24 in the 100m, he jumped a wind-assisted 7.53m (3.0m/s) to move into the overall lead, 20 points ahead of Ingmar Vos of the Netherlands.
Sviridov extended his lead in the shot put, recording 14.42m, but Vos, Sintnicolaas, France’s Jeremy Lelievre and Belarusian Eduard Mikhan were all close behind.
A clearance of 2.07m in the high jump gave Vos the overall lead, 127 points ahead of the rest of the field, while Romain Martin moved up into second place after a 2.04m leap.
Sintnicolaas, who had dropped to eighth after the high jump, clocked 48.77 in the 400m to make up valuable ground and he ended the first day in fifth place overall, less than 100 points behind Vos, who ran 50.64 in the 400m. Mikhan covered a lap of the track in 48.81 to maintain his second-place position.
Vos maintained his lead after the first two events of the second day, clocking 14.36 in the 110m hurdles and throwing 42.52m in the discus. Sintnicolaas temporarily moved into second place after running 14.00, the fastest time of the day, in the 110m hurdles, but he dropped back down to fourth after throwing 39.28m in the discus.
Then came Sinicolaas’s favourite event, the pole vault. A clearance of 5.30m saw the 27-year-old shoot into the lead, 27 points ahead of Mikhan, who cleared 4.90m.
Vos, who vaulted 4.40m, slipped down to fourth, but then moved into second after throwing 62.73m in the javelin. Sintnicolaas added another 50 points to his lead, thanks to a 58.36m effort in the javelin, before rounding off the competition in style by winning the 1500m in 4:24.62.
His score of 8156 gave him a 152-point winning margin over Mikhan. Vos finished third with 7959, while Sviridov took fourth place with a score of 7952.
With three of the top-six finishers in the decathlon and two in the top six in the heptathlon, Russia won the overall team title with 41,159, just 111 points ahead of the Netherlands. France finished third.
Host nation Poland will be relegated to the first league after finishing eighth and last with 36,879, their prospects badly dented by the withdrawal of Karolina Tyminska.
Czech Republic take first-league victory
The first and second leagues of the European Cup Combined Events were held in Ribeira Brava in Portugal. The Czech Republic earned promotion to the super league, totalling 40,384 points overall thanks to the individual victories from decathlete Adam Helcelet (7955) and heptathlete Eliska Klucinova (6191).
World champion Hanna Melnychenko opened her season, but was beaten by two of her Ukrainian team-mates and had to settle for fourth place with 5937 behind world indoor bronze medallist Alina Fodorova (6090) and European under-23 bronze medallist Anastasiya Mokhnyuk (5982).
Competing in his first decathlon with senior implements, 19-year-old Jiri Sykora took second place with a score of 7927, adding almost 200 points to the Czech junior record that had stood since 1991 to three-time world champion Tomas Dvorak. Sykora will be one of the big favourites at this month’s IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene.
The victors in the second league were Belgium’s Niels Pittomvils, scoring a decathlon PB of 8000, and Greece’s Sofia Ifantidou (5806).
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF