After group B’s first round in the decathlon javelin, it looked as though none of the medal positions were safe; not even Ashton Eaton’s.
France’s Kevin Mayer sent his javelin flying out to 65.04m with his first effort, just a metre shy of his lifetime best. When Ashton Eaton opened with 53.26m, Mayer momentarily took the overall lead. Not for the first time this competition, the pressure was on the world record-holder and defending champion.
But that was only half of the drama from round one.
Germany’s Kai Kazmirek threw a PB of 64.60m, while world silver medallist Damian Warner opened with 58.01m. It meant that Kazmirek moved ahead of Warner by 34 points.
The situation altered slightly in the second round and then changed again in the third.
Eaton improved to 58.26m in the second round before throwing 59.77m with his last attempt. It was several metres down on his PB, but was enough for him to regain the lead. He will head into the final event with 8104 points.
Mayer didn’t improve on his first-round throw and will go into the 1500m just 44 points behind Eaton. It means that Eaton has to stay within 6.4 seconds of Mayer in the 1500m to win the decathlon; Eaton’s PB is 4:14.48, Mayer’s is 4:18.04.
To break the Olympic decathlon record, Eaton would need to run 4:23.25.
Warner improved to 63.19m with his final throw, moving him back into third place on the leaderboard. Just like the gap between the top two, the difference between Warner and Kazmirek is 44 points, so Kazmirek would have to finish 6.4 seconds ahead of Warner in the 1500m to take the bronze medal. With Warner’s PB being nine seconds quicker than Kazmirek’s, the German faces a tough task if he wants to make it on to the podium.
Larbi Bourrada threw 66.49m in the javelin to set his third throwing PB of the competition. A strong 1500m runner, the Algerian is currently in seventh but could move up a couple of places by the end of the 1500m.
As expected, Leonel Suarez was the top performer in the javelin, but the Cuban’s mark was still seven metres short of the PB he set earlier this year. The 2008 and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist threw 72.32m to move into sixth place.
Grenada’s Kurt Felix was the second-best javelin thrower and he produced a PB of 69.92m to move into
With a best of 64.13m, Arthur Abele was some way short of the 71.89m PB he set in Ratingen and slipped down the standings. But European champion Thomas van der Plaetsen looks to be on course to set a decathlon PB after throwing a season’s best of 62.09m in the javelin.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF