Russia's Ilya Shkurenev in the decathlon shot put (© Getty Images)
Russia’s Ilya Shkurenev and Ukraine’s Alina Fodorova lead the way at the halfway point of the European Cup Combined Events Super League on Saturday (4), part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge, this year being held in the French town of Aubagne.
Shkurenev, the 2012 and 2014 European decathlon bronze medallist, has 4278 points but he is only nine points in front of Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov, the pair having an entertaining duel over the first day.
Kasyanov was better than his Russian rival across the first three events, posting marks of 10.79, 7.60m and 14.28m in the 100m, long jump and shot put. But the European indoor heptathlon champion stayed close with 11.05, 7.55m and 14.24m before moving to the fore when he went over 2.10m in the high jump to Kasyanov’s 1.98m.
The Ukrainian, who won the 2012 European decathlon silver medal, clocked 48.80 in the 400m to Shkurenev’s 49.40 but it was not quite enough to regain the lead.
Great Britain’s Liam Ramsay lies in third place overnight with 4158 points, helped by a personal best of 47.27 in the 400m, more than a second faster than anyone else.
There is also a tight contest in the heptathlon in Aubagne as Fodorova, the world indoor pentathlon bronze medallist, leads with 3851 points but only has an advantage of 44 points over her compatriot Anastasia Mokhynuk.
Fodorova started with a 100m hurdles best of 13.80 and followed it with an outdoor shot best of 15.01m.
A lot will depend on her javelin, usually a weak event for her, but she could have a chance of improving on her best of 6126 which dates from 2012.
Mokhynuk, the European under-23 heptathlon bronze medallist, recently set a personal best of 6331 in Gotzis at the end of May. Although she started badly with a 13.46 100m hurdles, nearly half a second slower than her recent best, she recovered a lot of ground with a personal best of 14.96m in the shot put, almost a metre better than she’s done before.
Ukraine leads team standings
The European Cup Combined Events leagues are, in fact, competitions where the top three men’s and women’s scores from the same nation are aggregated together but only individual athletes’ scores from the decathlon and heptathlon count towards the IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
Nevertheless, after the first day in the Super League, Ukraine has a narrow advantage over their neighbours and defending champions Russia.
Ukraine leads with 22,904 points with Russia second with 22,822. Hosts and 2013 winners France is third with 22,170 points.
In the First League in Inowroclaw, Poland, Norway’s Martin Roe leads the decathlon with 4182 points, moving into first place after the shot put and consolidating his position after being the fastest man in the 400m with a personal best of 49.00.
Roe now has a chance of surpassing 8000 points for the first time in his career.
Poland’s Karolina Tyminska is in front after four events in the heptathlon with 3696 points.
Her 13.99m shot put was just over a metre down on her best but still good enough to move her into first place after three events. After the 200m she has an advantage of 108 points over her compatriot Izabela Mikolajczyk.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF