A look ahead to this weekend’s multi events action in Gotzis
Over the past 40 years Gotzis has earned a reputation for staging the finest combined events meeting outside of the major championships. This year the Olympic decathlon and heptathlon champions lead the entries.
For Ashton Eaton, it is his Gotzis debut, but Jessica Ennis-Hill will be competing at the event for the fifth time as she continues her comeback.
Ennis-Hill’s first Gotzis experience was not a pleasant one, as she withdrew part way through with injury. But she went on to win in 2010, 2011 and 2012 – setting a British record of 6906 at the latter, which fell a few months before an Olympic Games that would see her improve the mark to 6955.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the European indoor pentathlon champion and 2014 world heptathlon No.1, has withdrawn from Gotzis with injury, but along with Ennis-Hill there is British interest in the shape of Morgan Lake. The talented teenager, who turned 18 this month, will be attempting to improve her best of 6148 and is sure to have Johnson-Thompson’s UK junior record of 6267 in her sights. Lake is, however, in the middle of A-level exams and heads to Austria this weekend with not only a range of athletics spikes and shoes in her suitcase but a bundle of study books as well.
Contenders who could threaten the Brits include Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium, Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada, Antoinette Nana Djimou of France, Austra Skuiyte of Lithuania, Nadine Broersen and Dafne Schippers of Netherlands. The latter, of course, has been in tremendous form in the sprints, winning European titles over 60m, 100m and 200m in the last 12 months and breaking 11 seconds for 100m last weekend.
Challenging world record-holder Eaton in the men’s event are 2012 Gotzis winner Hans Van Alphen of Belgium, 2013 winner Damian Warner of Canada, 2009 winner Michael Schrader of Germany, Russia’s European indoor heptathlon champion Ilya Shkurenyov and Eelco Sintnicolaas of the Netherlands. Britain’s John Lane, the national indoor heptathlon record-holder, is also among those in action.
Full entry lists and a timetable can be found here.
Five great moments in Gotzis history
Daley Thompson warmed up for the Moscow Olympics by smashing the world decathlon record with 8648 during the early-season Gotzis meeting. He returned in 1982 to raise the record again to 8730.
Ghada Shouaa of Syria set an Asian record of 6715 in the heptathlon, while the popular Estonian Erki Nool produced an 8.10m long jump on the way to breaking his national record with 8575 to win the decathlon. Nool would later win the 2000 Olympic title.
The 25th anniversary year of the meeting saw Tomas Dvorak of Czech Republic score 8738 with many former champions such as Daley Thompson watching.
Roman Sebrle battered through the 9000 points barrier in the decathlon for the first time in history. The ex-soldier from the Czech Republic scored 9026 and later went on to win Olympic gold in 2004, the world title in 2007 and in all claimed five titles in Gotzis.
Carolina Kluft took her fifth heptathlon win in Gotzis to add to the 2004 Olympic crown and world titles in Paris (2003) and Helsinki (2005) she had already won. The Swede would later take a third world outdoor title in Osaka in 2007 before taking up horizontal jumps and dropping combined events.