Commonwealth champion Theisen-Eaton breaks Canadian record with winning points tally as Jessica Ennis-Hill finishes a fine fourth and betters Rio 2016 Olympic qualifying standard
Brianne Theisen-Eaton scored a total of 6808 points to break her own Canadian heptathlon record and claim victory at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis on Sunday, while Germany’s Kai Kazmirek won the decathlon with 8462 points as 11 athletes bettered 8100 points.
Commonwealth champion and world silver medallist Theisen-Eaton set personal bests in three events to regain the title she won in 2013 and finish 261 points ahead of Germany’s Carolin Schafer as European silver medallist Nadine Broersen of Netherlands was third with 6531 points.
Contesting her first heptathlon since becoming Olympic champion in London in 2012, Jessica Ennis-Hill scored 6520 points to finish fourth and better the qualifying standard for the Rio Games by 320 points. She secured that points tally in style, too, clocking 2:09.21 for 800m to win the final event when a time of 2:32 would have been enough to secure the 6200-point standard. All this comes with the 29-year-old only having made her competitive return after almost two years out at the Athletics Weekly Great CityGames Manchester earlier this month. Before that, the Sheffield athlete had not competed since July 2013 having struggled with injury in 2013 and then given birth to her first child, Reggie, last July, and her build-up to Gotzis had also been affected by Achilles niggles.
“I was a little bit disappointed with some of the events but generally I’m really pleased,” she told Athletics Spectacular in a video interview which can be viewed here. “I’m just really made up to have completed a heptathlon and scored what I did.”
Personal best performances in the high jump, 200m and long jump helped Theisen-Eaton on her way to her winning points total. After clocking 13.05 in the 100m hurdles, clearing 1.89m in the high jump, throwing 13.73m in the shot and then running 23.34 for 200m to lead Dafne Schippers by 36 points at the end of day one, the 26-year-old got day two off to a strong start with her 6.72m long jump PB before throwing 42.96m in the javelin and finally clocking 2:09.37 for 800m.
Dutch multi-eventer Schippers, who won world heptathlon bronze in 2013 before last year claiming a European sprint double in Zurich, had clocked 22.39 for 200m which had helped to put her just behind Theisen-Eaton after four events, but after 6.43m in the long jump and a javelin throw of 42.22m she withdrew ahead of the 800m.
Schafer’s performances included 23.53 for 200m and 49.08m in the javelin, while Broersen’s results included 14.82m in the shot and 53.65m to win the javelin.
Ennis-Hill had continued her comeback with 13.24 for the fifth-quickest time in the 100m hurdles, but she went on to clear 1.86m in the high jump – the same height she cleared in the heptathlon at London 2012 and the joint third best clearance of the day in Gotzis behind Nafissatou Thiam’s 1.92m – and throw 13.95m in the shot. A time of 23.86 in the 200m took her points total to 3928 overnight.
She returned on Sunday to leap 6.16m in the long jump, throw 42.60m in the javelin and then run her winning time of 2:09.21 in the final two-lap event. Her score also qualifies her for this year’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
Britain’s double world junior champion Morgan Lake was also in action in Austria and was placed 15th after four events. On Sunday she leapt 5.99m in the long jump and threw 36.61m in the javelin but the 18-year-old, who is in the middle of her A-Level exams, then pulled up in the 800m and failed to finish.
In a competition which saw nine athletes score more than 6400 points, Broersen’s compatriots Nadine Visser and Anouk Vetter finished fifth and sixth with respective scores of 6467 points and 6458 points, while Belgium’s European bronze medallist and European junior champion Thiam finished ninth with 6412 points.
Over in the decathlon, Kazmirek went one better than his runner-up spot behind Trey Hardee last year but missed the PB he set in Gotzis 12 months ago by just nine points to beat his compatriot Michael Schrader, the world silver medallist, by 47 points. South Africa’s Willem Coertzen improved his own African record to 8398 points to prevent a German clean-sweep, with Rico Freimuth fourth with 8380 points.
World record-holder Ashton Eaton, husband of heptathlon winner Theisen-Eaton, had unsurprisingly headlined the entries but the Olympic champion never got to make his Hypo-Meeting debut as he withdrew just before the first event having sustained a back injury during training in the week.
Canada’s Commonwealth champion and world bronze medallist Damian Warner had taken an early lead after clocking 10.37 in the 100m and leaping 7.63m in the long jump for a result just 3cm off the winning mark posted by Schrader. However, Warner, who won in Gotzis in 2013, failed to record a mark in the shot put. Despite this, the 25-year-old went on to finish 14th with an impressive 7893 points, aided by a 400m win in 47.04 and a meeting record of 13.54 in the 110m hurdles.
Freimuth threw a shot PB of 15.47m to move into the lead ahead of Schrader, who threw 14.31m, after three events, but a 47.30 400m by Kazmirek saw the German sit top overnight, as he did in Gotzis 12 months ago.
Unlike last year and helped by results including a clearance of 5.10m in the pole vault and 64.45m in the javelin which was won by Coertzen with 68.48m, Kazmirek held on to that lead and after a 4:34.61 1500m clinched victory.
Britain’s John Lane, the national heptathlon record-holder, finished 18th with 7798 points after results including a 10.79 100m, 48.92 400m and a 4.90m pole vault clearance. He later tweeted: “First real competition since knee surgery. Not the score I was after. Knocked all the rust off. Can’t wait for the next one now!”
» Full results can be found at meeting-goetzis.at