Canadian combined events exponents Damian Warner and Brianne Theisen-Eaton are the overnight leaders after the first day of the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis, an IAAF World Combined Events Challenge meeting, on Saturday (28).
The overnight situation puts the pair on course to score the second Canadian double in the Austrian town, three years after their first triumph.
World silver medallist and 2013 Gotzis champion Warner leads the decathlon by just seven points over Germany’s defending champion Kai Kazmirek with a total of 4424, having held the overall lead throughout all of Saturday.
Theisen-Eaton leads the heptathlon by 40 points from Great Britain's 2014 Gotzis winner Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the pair scoring 3972 and 3932 respectively. However, unlike the decathlon, the heptathlon saw the lead change after each of the four events.
Warner opened in impressive fashion, setting a world best for a decathlon 100m in 10.15 in the last of the six heats, 0.06 faster than Ashton Eaton ran at the London 2012 Olympic Games. It was also a personal best by 0.13.
Brazil’s Felipe Dos Santos was a distant second behind Warner in 10.50 while Kai Kazmirek won the penultimate heat and improved his own 100m personal best to 10.62.
Warner stayed in first place after two events but only by just one point from Dos Santos after a below-par 7.12m in the long jump, his only valid attempt and nearly a metre shy of his recent 8.04m PB.
Dos Santos jumped 7.46m with Kazmirek, who leapt to 7.45m, third another 31 points further back. Great Britain’s Ashley Bryant was the best long jumper with 7.58m.
However, Warner reached 14.64m in the shot, the second-best distance of his career, to extend his overall lead to 69 points over second-placed Kazmirek, who threw 14.05m.
Dos Santos dropped to third after his best effort of 13.27m. USA’s Garrett Scantling had two throws better than anyone else, twice improving his personal best to 15.49m in the first round and then 15.62m in the second.
Jeremy Taiwo, sixth in Gotzis 12 months ago, cleared an outdoor personal best of 2.18m to move from fifth to first overall after four events, 52 points ahead of Warner who cleared 2.00m. Kazmirek jumped 2.06m to take third place in the overall standings, just 13 points behind Warner.
Kazmirek clocked the fastest time in the 400m with 47.01 to win a close race from Warner, who was second in 47.13, but the latter did enough to hang on to his overall lead by just seven points over Kazmirek.
Taiwo ended the first day in third place with 4373 after finishing a distant third behind the leading pair in the last of five heats, running 49.25.
“It was a decent first day," said Warner. "I expected to run fast in the 100m but I did not think I could run quite so fast. The long jump was very tough because of the wind but the shot put was good."
Defending champion Theisen-Eaton on top
Germany’s world 100m hurdles silver medallist Cindy Roleder not surprisingly won her specialist event, clocking 12.84 to finish ahead of world indoor champion and two-time Gotzis winner Theisen-Eaton, who ran a personal best of 12.93.
Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece-Admidina was third in 13.07, which was also a personal best.
After equalling her 100m hurdles PB of 13.37, Johnson-Thompson set an outdoor high jump PB of 1.92m, clearing with her second attempt before missing three times at 1.95m. The Briton moved up to first place overall, 50 points ahead of Theisen-Eaton who jumped 1.83m.
Belgium’s European bronze medallist Nafissatou Thiam, who had the second-best high jump with 1.89m, then reached 15.04m in the shot put to become the third overall leader in as many events, 62 points ahead of Theisen-Eaton who sent the shot out to 13.71m.
The shot put was won by Lithuania’s 36-year-old 2004 Olympic silver medallist Austra Skujyte with 16.13m while Johnson-Thompson slipped to sixth after a modest 11.55m in what is normally her her weakest event.
The European indoor champion bounced back by running a sparkling 200m in a personal best of 22.79, making her the second-fastest European of 2016 so far. She finished more than half a second ahead of Theisen-Eaton, despite the latter improving her career best to 23.33.
Germany’s 2008 world junior champion Carolin Schafer improved her personal best to 23.37 when winning the penultimate heat to end the first day in third place with 3922.
“Everything went to plan but it’s just part of a bigger plan aimed at the Rio de Janeiro," said Theisen-Eaton.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF