American is a class apart as he adds six points to his record mark at the World Championships

Ashton Eaton has added six points to his world record in the decathlon as he defended his world title with ease in Beijing with a score of 9045.

Needing to run 4:18.2 to revise his mark set in the US Championships in June 2012, it was a close call as he ran 4:17.52 in the final event. The 2012 Olympic champion had been heavily tipped to challenge the record, especially when he ran 45.00 – a world best in a decathlon – for the 400m at the close of the opening day.

Eaton was a massive 350 points ahead of silver medallist Damian Warner, who set a Canadian record. Germany’s Rico Freimuth took bronze with 8561.

“I just went out there and told myself, ‘okay, let’s enjoy this event and go for it’,” said Eaton.

“The result is awesome but I did not do it alone.

“I tried to use the Algerian guy to push me at the 1500m – every time he sped up, I tried to keep up with him. It helped me a lot.”

The American had a big overnight lead, having been just outside his best with 10.23 in the opening event, the 100m, and he followed up on day one with 7.88m in the long jump, 14.52m in the shot and 2.01m in the high jump.

On day two he clocked 13.69 for the 110m hurdles and threw the discus 43.34m. A good 5.20m in the pole vault and 63.63m in the javelin.

It left him in with a chance of breaking the record as his PB is 4:14. However, as he chased leader Algeria’s Larbi Bourrada it seemed he may miss out as he required 64 seconds for the final lap. Nevertheless, despite straining so much in the last 50m he appeared to lose his form, he set the first world record of these championships and claimed the bonus of $100,000.

It was a remarkable return to the decathlon for Eaton, who last summer opted out of multi-events to focus on the 400m hurdles. It was also some compensation for the most successful couple in athletics as his wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton, won silver in the heptathlon last weekend when going in as favourite.

Earlier Poland’s Piotr Malachowski, the favourite in the men’s discus, took gold with 67.40m. Philip Milanov set a Belgian record 66.90m for silver and Robert Urbanek gained bronze with 65.18m.

» See the September 3 edition of AW magazine for coverage of the final five days of World Championships action, while the August 27 edition includes reports, results, news, stats and more from the first four days