Germany’s Michael Schrader and the Netherlands' Anouk Vetter lead at the end of the first day of the Erdgas Mehrkampf-Meeting in Ratingen, an IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting, on Saturday (27).
Schrader, the world silver medallist and a local hero in Ratingen as he hails from nearby Duisburg, put together a total of 4330 to lead the decathlon by exactly 100 points from African record-holder Willem Coertzen of South Africa.
Schrader’s compatriot and 2014 Ratingen winner Rico Freimuth was the fastest man over 100m with 10.63 but Schrader was not far behind with 10.78 for second place in the quickest heat of the opening event.
He then took the overall lead with a do-or-die last effort of 7.81m in the long jump, following two fouls.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’ll give it everything’. Having a safe jump from a metre behind the board is just not me,” said Schrader after the end of Saturday’s session.
The feat saw Schrader move into first place after two events with 1922 points, 142 more than Freimuth.
The latter ate into his rival's lead a little after the shot put, although Schrader’s 14.80m was just eight centimetres off his recent personal best and moved his tally along to 2699 points, with Freimuth putting a personal best of 15.62m to reduce the deficit to 91 points.
The high jump is not one of Schrader’s better events but he cleared 1.92m which was enough to maintain his lead as Gotzis winner Kai Kazmirek went over 2.07m and moved up to second place. Freimuth under-performed and only cleared 1.86m to slip down to fourth.
Schrader finished off the day with a 48.19 400m, the fastest of the 13 remaining competitors, to consolidate his lead as Coertzen moved up to second place after a run of 48.50 to retain his ambition of improving on his recent African record of 8398 set in Gotzis just four weeks ago.
Kazmirek pulled out shortly after the start of his 400m race having felt a groin twinge.
“I had hoped for a couple of personal bests on Saturday but it’s still a really good score,” said Schrader, who is 100 points shy of where he was after the first day at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, when he set his personal best of 8670.
Vetter has personal best in view
Cindy Roleder, a regular German 100m hurdles international, was unsurprisingly the fastest in the opening event of the heptathlon with 13.05, Vetter coming home third in 13.55.
But Carolin Schafer moved into pole position after the high jump when she equalled her personal best of 1.84m.
Vetter’s strength showed in the shot put, which she won with a personal best of 15.50m, although Schafer still led after three events following her 13.39m in the shot put.
Two-time world heptathlon medallist Jennifer Oeser was second, just eight points behind, and Vetter had moved up to third.
However, everything changed after the 200m as Vetter won her heat in 24.12, the second-best time of the day behind Roleder’s 23.68 win in the supposedly the faster heat.
Vetter’s first-day total of 3785 saw her finish Saturday 57 points ahead of Oeser, with Roleder third on 3667 points.
The Dutch athlete was also only 88 points behind her first-day score in Gotzis last month when she went on to finish sixth in a personal best of 6458.
Schafer decided not to start the 200m as a precaution in order to conserve her energy for the IAAF World Championships in August. “Everyone has seen that I am in the best shape of my life,” said Schafer, who finished second in Gotzis with a personal best of 6547.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF