Ashton Eaton in the heptathlon 1000m at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot (© Getty Images)
It wasn’t meant to be today, but missing out on a fourth straight world indoor record is hardly a failure for Ashton Eaton.
The 26-year-old, knowing that he was somewhat behind schedule in the 1000m, attacked the last two laps bravely, but just fell short of the record. Nevertheless, he easily retained his world indoor title in Sopot with the second-best score in history, 6632.
Eaton is only the second athlete to win two world indoor heptathlon titles in a row, following in the footsteps of compatriot Bryan Clay, who won in 2008 and 2010.
Eaton clocked 2:34.72 in the final event, the third-fastest result of his career to miss out on the world record by just 13 points. The US superstar has now won the Olympic title, world title and two world indoor titles within the space of just two years.
The next two medals in the competition went to Andrei Krauchanka and Thomas Van Der Plaetsen, as anticipated. The Belarusian returned to the World Indoor Championships podium, winning his second silver, six years after his first.
The 28-year-old ran 2:41.88 in the 1000m, scoring 6303 for a national indoor record, the previous one (6282) coming in Paris 2011 when he won the European Indoor title. The high point of his heptathlon was the high jump, where he eclipsed his personal best 2.19m which had stood for nine years and 30 days.
Van Der Plaetsen added 71 points to his previous national indoor record from earlier this season, scoring 6259 for the bronze after running a 2:40.50 personal best in the final event.
Eelco Sintnicolaas was active during the 1000m race and really tried to catch Van Der Plaetsen, but could not get close enough as the gap was too long to start with. The Dutchman clocked a 2:38.98 season’s best for a total of 6198 points and fourth place.
Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov was fifth with a 6176 season’s best and German Kai Kazmirek sixth with 6173 points. They fought gallantly during the 1000m, knowing the tight situation and Kasyanov finished just ahead of Kazmirek, their times being 2:39.44 and 2:39.51 respectively, both personal bests.
Damian Warner of Canada was seventh with 6129 points and Pascal Behrenbruch stepped off track at the start of the 1000m race.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF