Eaton gears up for Sopot with stadium record in Athlone

Reigning world indoor heptathlon champion just off 60m PB with 6.69 in Ireland

Ashton Eaton on way to winning 60m in Athlone (Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE)

Ashton Eaton continued his preparations for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, next month by setting a stadium record over 60m at the Athlone International GP.

The Olympic and world decathlon champion clocked 6.69 at the AIT International Arena on Wednesday, a time just three hundredths of a second outside his personal best for the distance.

But he could only manage third in the long jump competition with a best of 7.58m behind Daniel Bramble with 7.71m and Paulo Sergio de Oliveira with 7.62m.

The world decathlon record-holder, who also set a world indoor heptathlon record of 6645 points when winning the World Indoors two years ago in Istanbul, believes he can retain his world title in Sopot in just over a weeks’ time.

“The combined events are way open in Sopot, one mistake by anyone and you can be completely out of it,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to Sopot,” he added. “I can retain my title, it’s the mistakes that cost you, so I want as few as possible.”

Having already revealed his plans to focus on the 400m hurdles in 2014, Eaton went on to explain how future Olympics could also see him competing in just one event, rather than 10, too.

“I will focus on 400m hurdles outdoors after Sopot and prepare for the World Championships in 2015 and then look to Rio in 2016 as a hurdler,” said Eaton, who has a 400m PB of 45.64 and had previously revealed he is eyeing times of between 47 and 48 seconds over the barriers.

Eaton’s wife, world heptathlon silver medallist Brianne Theisen-Eaton, was also in action in Athlone, winning the shot put with 13.46m and the high jump with 1.80m.

Kelly Proper was another to win two events, clocking 7.44 to win the 60m and leaping a stadium record 6.49m in the long jump.

Ross Millington won the first event of the evening, the 3000m. Clocking 8:00.32 he finished ahead of Matthew Shirling, who easily tops the season’s UK under-20 rankings with his big PB of 8:06.58 which also moves him to third on the UK under-20 indoor all-time list.

Katie Kirk also set a big PB over 800m, with 2:03.58 for the win ahead of Katie Snowden with 2:04.35.

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