Kladno, Czech RepublicCzech hopes are fighting for first places at the Kladno TNT Fortuna Meeting, but overnight leaders are from Kazakhstan in the Decathlon and from Great Britain in the Heptathlon. Dmitriy Karpov leads the Decathlon after five events with 4248 points while Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads the women’s competition with 3729 points.
In mostly sunny, but windy conditions in Sletište stadium, the Czech stop of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, local favorites are planning to attack from second place. Adam Sebastian Helcelet is 89 points back, while Eliška Klucinová trails the leader by 37.
Decathlon: Šebrle only fifth
The experienced Karpov had the best first day after building up his lead in Saturday’s last three events. After 11.12 in the 100m against a 1.2 m/s headwind and 7.14m leap in the Long Jump he was the only one to throw over 16 metres in the Shot Put with an excellent 16.12m.
Karpov, the 2004 Olympic Games bronze medallist, also won High Jump with 2.04m and clocked a fast 400m in 48.86, almost two seconds faster than he was in Desenzano one month ago.
Competition for second place is wide open with just 54 points separating second from fifth place. Helcelet scored 4159 points and was not satisfied with his performance, even though he threw for the first time in his career over 15 metres in the Shot Put (15.05m) and cleared 2.04m in the High Jump.
"Unfortunately the other events were not that good, running against strong wind was a bit crazy," said the 20-year-old Helcelet, who is a former winner of the junior Decathlon competition in the TNT Fortuna Meeting.
His goal prior to the competition was the Olympic A-standard of 8200. "I would have to improve all my personal bests on Sunday to achieve that score," he said with a smile. "I won’t give up, but now I’m concentrating on the European championships standard (7800 points)."
The surprise third with 4130 points is Einar Larusson from Iceland, who came to Kladno with a 7587 PB. He improved three personal bests on Saturday: Long jump (7.35m), Shot Put (13.99m) and High Jump (2.04m).
World record holder Roman Šebrle will have to improve on Sunday to qualify for his fourth Olympic Games. He is currently fifth with 4105 points, after struggling in Saturday’s last two events.
"I expected at least five more centimetres in the High Jump and a much better 400m, so I am a bit disappointed," he admitted. After 11.12 in 100m he was very happy with 7.17m in the Long Jump and especially 15.47m in Shot Put. But then in the High Jump he cleared 2.01m before failing three times at 2.04m and ran one lap in a disappointing 51.14.
One of the favorites Eduard Mikhan from Belarus was provisional leader after 100m in 10.93, but then a calf injury forced him to withdraw.
Heptathlon: Fast Johnson-Thompson
The second youngest competitor in Kladno, Katarina Johnson-Thompson is the Heptathlon leader after four events. She built up her lead in both running events with a personal best 13.62 in the 100m Hurdles and an also fast (considering conditions) 23.88 in 200m.
"I am extremely happy with those times, because we were running against a strong headwind," she said. Wind was the problem during the entire first day, at some points reaching as high as -4.5 m/s.
"I am also very satisfied with 1.86m in the High Jump, because in Desenzano I jumped only 1.81," said Johnson-Thompson, who threw 11.83m in the Shot Put.
She broke the British national junior record in Desenzano with 6007 points; in Kladno she is aiming for an even better result. "My goal is 6150 points, which is the Olympic standard, so I need to carry on tomorrow. I am enjoying competing here in Kladno, people are really nice here, cheering for us."
Very happy with her first day performance was also Czech record holder Eliška Klucinová. She is second with a total of 3692 points, 37 behind Johnson-Thompson.
"Everything went great, I didn’t expect such a good first day," said Klucinová, who wasn’t able to compete last season after foot surgery. She improved her personal bests in the 100m Hurdles to 14.11 and in the 200m to 24.77, when she ran under 25 seconds for the first time.
After the first day Klucinová is 85 points ahead of her Czech record schedule. She equalled the national record 6268 points two years ago at TNT Fortuna meeting.
"Improving my personal best would be fantastic, but in 2010 I threw over 50 metres in Javelin and ran 2:15 in the 800m," she said. "I don’t think I am in such good shape to repeat it this year. My goal is the Olympic A standard."
Third after the first day is Belarus bronze medallist from last year’s Under 23 European Championships Yana Maksimava with 3653 points. Francesca Doveri, leader after the first event, withdrew after the High Jump.