Hanna Kasyanova in the heptathlon high jump at the TNT Express meeting in Kladno (© Jan Kucharcik)
World champion Hanna Kasyanova and her husband Oleksiy Kasyanov are the overnight leaders at TNT Express meeting in Kladno, part of the 2015 IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
Kasyanova (nee Melnychenko) currently leads in the duel against defending champion and Czech record-holder Eliska Klucinova. After a hot and sunny day at the Sletiste Stadium on Friday (12), the Ukrainian has amassed 3744 points with the local star 43 points behind.
“I am very happy with my sprints, because I didn’t have any competition practice,” said Kasyanova, who finished only one heptathlon last year. “I like hot weather and after a bad 2014 season it looks like a promising start.”
Kasyanova’s current score is just 90 points shy of her day-one tally from 2013 when she went on to win with a final score of 6416.
European indoor bronze medallist Klucinova is 78 points adrift of her day-one score from last year, when she set the Czech record of 6460. “My performance was a tragedy from the beginning until the end,” said the three-time Kladno winner. “But I won’t give up the fight for the first place.”
Nigeria’s Uhunoma Osazuwa is currently in third place after four events with 3636, 25 points ahead of Poland’s Karolina Tyminska.
African champion Marthe Koala took an early lead with a Burkinabe record of 13.27 in the 100m hurdles, her favourite event. Kasyanova was the next best in a solid 13.31, while Klucinova dipped under 14 seconds with 13.97.
But Kasyanova struggled in the high jump, clearing only 1.73m. “My high jump was terrible, I had problems with my run-up,” said the 32-year-old.
Klucinova won her strong event with 1.82m but probably lost a chance to attack her national record. “I had some problems with my leg, so I was a bit afraid,” said Klucinova, who cleared 1.90m in Kladno last year. “Nevertheless I should have jumped higher.”
The leader after two events was Osazuwa having clocked 13.44 in the 100m hurdles and cleared 1.79m in the high jump.
After the shot put, the favourites Klucinova and Kasyanova moved ahead of Osazuwa. The Ukrainian saved her best for the last attempt, throwing 13.98m, while local crowd favourite Klucinova managed 14.22m.
Only Laurien Hoos from the Netherlands posted a better result with 14.64m. The 2005 European under-23 champion is making a return to competition after retiring in 2011, but she felt some pain in her leg after 200m.
Kasyanova was the only one to run faster than 24 seconds in the last event of the day, clocking 23.99 into a -2.4m/s headwind. Koala, who trains in Mauritius, confirmed her great sprinting shape to finish second with 24.28. Klucinova was the fastest in the other heat in better wind conditions and clocked 24.79 (-0.8m/s).
Kasyanov set to retain his title
Kasyanov is on course to successfully defend his title from last year, having built up a leading margin of 139 points. His day-one tally of 4291 is 81 points more than he managed last year when he went on to win with 8083.
“I am happy with the first place so far, but some events were not so good, especially the shot put,” said the 2012 world indoor silver medallist, who broke his hand during pole vault training last December. “I am injury free now and I hope to improve my personal best in pole vault here.”
Unexpectedly, second place is currently occupied by Norway’s Martin Roe with 4152, having set personal bests in the long jump and 400m. The 23-year-old looks set to improve on his PB of 7585.
David Hall got off to a strong start in the 100m, clocking 10.84 into a -1.7m/s headwind. The 20-year-old Briton, who finished 13th at the 2014 World Junior Championships in Eugene, is the youngest competitor in Kladno.
Kasyanov was only three hundreds slower and produced his best long jump since 2010 in the next event, leaping 7.70m. Roe finished second with a PB of 7.42m.
Kasyanov’s lead over Roe was reduced to 34 points after shot put and the Ukrainian wasn’t happy with his 14.27m throw. Norwegians were the only athletes to land their implements past the 15-metre line. Lars Vikan Rise managed 15.42m, while Roe threw 15.15m.
Rise also excelled in the high jump, winning the event with 2.05m. The only other athlete able to jump over two meters was Romain Martin with 2.02m. Kasyanov produced 1.99m, but maintained his lead over Roe in second and Rise in third.
The first day finished the same way it started. David Hall was in a league of his own in the 400m and broke the meeting record with a time of 46.98, moving him up to fourth place at the end of the first day.
Way back in second place, 30-year-old Kasyanov managed his fastest time in three years, clocking 48.67. Roe remained in second place overall after clocking a PB of 49.20, just 0.05 ahead of Romain Martin.
Michal Osoba for the IAAF