Scott Filip and Quintunya Chapman won a memorable double for the USA at the 5th Pan American Combined Events Cup, part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, held at Ottawa’s Terry Fox stadium on Friday and Saturday (17-18).
Third at the US Championships in 2015, Chapman produced the third best heptathlon total of her life when she won with 6035 points while Filip won the decathlon with a personal best of 7726.
Chapman was second after the first day with 3589, her marks including a shot personal best of 14.88m but she moved into pole position after her fellow American and overnight leader Chelsea Carrier pulled up with a left quadriceps injury in the long jump.
The 23-year old from Athens, Georgia, then equalled her season’s best of 42.26m in the javelin and finished strongly by running the fastest 800m of her career in 2:13.58.
“This result means that I have potential do a lot more with my training, mental-wise and physically, just to get better for (the Olympic) trials in two weeks,” commented Chapman.
“I have not competed much this season, but I know where my potential lies and what I can go from here. I was definitely satisfied with my 200m (a wind-assisted 23.75 at the end of the first day) and 800m times and my shot put. I know I can the hurdles faster and once I perfect my high jump, get the technique down, I will be good to go,” she added.
USA’s Allison Reaser claimed the silver medal with 5988, only two points less than her lifetime best while Canada’s Jessica Zelinka – fifth and sixth in the heptathlon at the last two Olympic Games –finished third with 5855 and clinched the national title as the Cup also served as the Canadian Championships.
The 2007 Pan American Games champion, who completed her first heptathlon in Ottawa 19 years ago, will retire after the 2016 season but the 35-year-old still has ambitions of qualifying for her third Olympic Games.
In the decathlon, Canada’s 20-year old Pierce Lepage was en route for a big personal best after an impressive 4393 total to lead after the first day, thanks to excellent performances in 100m (10.63), long jump (7.52m), high jump (2.06m) and 400m (47.64), his performances in all five disciplines being personal bests.
Pole vault problems
He continued to lead after seven events, with a 14.83 110m hurdles and 41.81m discus, but all his hopes evaporated after he failed to clear a height in the pole vault after three misses at 4.25m.
However, Lepage continued to compete and finished 10th overall.
The pole vault was also disastrous for Grenada’s 2015 Pan American Games silver medallist Kurt Felix, who failed to clear a height when a vault of 4.40m – well within his capabilities – could have potentially set him on his way to victory and he eventually had to settle for seventh place.
Lepage and Felix’s pole vault problems paved the way for Filip, second after day one with 4193, to move into the lead after a 4.75m clearance and Filip finished off his two days with a 48.95m javelin and 4:43.69 1500m to get his unexpected gold medal and a personal best by 79 points.
“The long jump was one of the highlights of my competition here. Ultimately when all the points added up, I had an overall score that was a personal best so I am pretty happy. For my first decathlon in a year after a surgery, it’s a great benchmark to start with. I was trying my best to focus on myself. I just wanted to stay on my own head and focus of doing the best that I could," said Filip, a Rice University student in Houston.
“It was surreal to step on the podium and listen to the national anthem. It was a great feeling, especially for my first international competition. I really didn’t expect it. I am really glad I had this opportunity,” he added.
Rustam Turner had a solid second day and moved from seventh to second, and also claimed the Canadian title, with a new personal best of 7565.
USA’s Michael Morrison, an excellent pole vaulter, cleared a season’s best of 5.15m in the eighth event to win the discipline and he eventually finished third with 7422.
With the women’s gold and silver medals and the men’s gold and bronze, the US team also lifted the Capital Cup for the team competition in both genders.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF