Sunday 29 May 2005
Götzis, Austria - As expected the 31st edition of Hypo meeting - IAAF World Combined Events Challenge - finished today with the two leading world marks of the year. Tropical weather, enthusiastic spectators, the best combined eventers in the world, Götzis lived up to the world class expectations once again.
This time there was also a dramatic finale in the men’s Decathlon which ended with an unprecedent fifth meeting win a row for Czech Roman Sebrle. His main contender before the event Bryan Clay (USA) had misfortune yesterday but suddenly Sebrle was fighting for first place with his training partner Attila Zsivóczky from Hungary.
Carolina Klüft on the other hand showed that if her arm was totally healthy she could well attack the 7000 points barrier in the Heptathlon. Behind her the new generation headed by Sotherton, Fountain and Simpson also made great progress.
Olympic champions Sebrle and Klüft, currently lead the IAAF World Ranking for their respective Combined Events, and their performances this weekend will reinforce their positions. Klüft is of course already World champion, while the Czech is aming to achieve that title in Helsinki this summer.
The favourite won in the end, World record holder Roman Sebrle remains unbeaten in a Decathlon since is last loss at the hands of Tom Pappas (USA) at the Paris World Championships in 2003.
But this time it was close. The decision was made only in the last event.
Sebrle was fighting mainly with himself and bad feelings concerning his health. He did not win the usual ground in the Discus Throw on Russia’s Aleksandr Pogorelov, the leader over night by five points), and he also lost in Pole Vault. But then Sebrle dug deep and started to save the situation in the Javelin Throw and finalised his record 5th win in Götzis in a row with an excellent display of running in the 1500m.
“I must be satisfied,” said Sebrle. “I was not feeling well at all. My training-mate Zsivóczky is a very good 1500m runner so nothing was for sure. And also contending with the hot weather there were too many question marks. My best event was the Long Jump, the Discus was not bad, and in all others I should have done better. And of course 1500m race, there I did what was necessary.”
“Big thanks also to excellent support of the public. My next competition will be a triathlon in front of my home crowd at IAAF Super Grand Prix Meeting in Ostrava,” said a happy Sebrle.
His score of 8534 is the worst of all his Gotzis wins but taking into account his health situation and the warm weather it remains special.
Attila Zsivóczky scored his best ever - 8480 points - and will be a major factor in Helsinki. Czech Dalibor Kupka from Prague is the coach of the top two, as Zsivóczky made his entire spring preparation with the Sebrle team.
The leader before the last event Alexandr Pogorelov bettered his best by 266 points and finished third. When he learns to throw the Javelin and trains for running his new coach Lev Lobodin could have a contender for medals at big championships on his hands.
China is sending more and more competitors to Europe (like the race walking team in spring) and it is bearing fruit – Qi Haifeng finished fourth in new national record of 8290 points.
In total 8 personal bests were registered. Bryan Clay will not want to remember this edition of Gotzis, after yesterday’s disaster in the Long Jump, in today’s Javelin he injured his rib cage, and just jogged through the last event to finish with 7961 points in 9th position.
10.20hrs – 110m Hurdles: Sebrle continues, even though not feeling totally healthy, Clay wins the fourth race with respectable 13.94 into headwind , Pogorelov new best of 14.14, Sebrle 14.50 only, Pogorelov is again leading by 51 points as before the 400m, Zsivóczky is clearly third after another best of 14.63 in the second race.
11.12hrs – Discus: Sebrle’s first throw was a very solid 47.77m and got him into the lead by 27 points from Pogorelov, but the Russian exploded in the second round with huge best of 48.44 and was back into the lead by 65 points; Zsivotzky another personal best with 47.90 and was clearly third, only 40 points behind Sebrle. Qi Haifeng from China twice bettered his best with 48.05 and 48.57 and confirmed 4th place overall, Clay was the best with 49.88 and despite the bad long jump stood overall 5th.
14.34hrs – Pole Vault: Sebrle did not make it over 5.00m, he passed 4.90 and had a nice clear attempt at 4.80m, Zsivóczky equalled his outdoor best with 4.90 and showed he is in contention for top place because of his very good 1500m race, but Pogorelov showed he is the man of the weekend, as he went cleanly over 5.00 and 5.10, the latter one his best, and he even tried for 5.20m.
16.33hrs – Javelin Throw: Sebrle makes up ground with his second throw of 66.57m (in first 63.45) and is 31 points behind Pogorelov and 66 points ahead of Zsivóczky. A long time ago it was destined that this Gotzis Decathlon title would be decided in last event.
17.45hrs – 1500m: Sebrle controlled the pace and with this fact in his mind he won by more than 60 metres from Zsivóczky and so fulfilled the goal and won overall.
Sweden’s Carolina Klüft won her 12th Heptathlon in a row since 2001 (she lost the last time in Austria in 2001 in Ried at the European Cup) and her total score of 6824 points is her third best, she was better only when winning the big championships in Paris and Athens (7001 and 6952).
She achieved her third win in a row in Götzis, but with her best score (6602 in 2003 and 6820 in 2004), that means the fifth best ever score in Gotzis.
“I must be satisfied,” confirmed Klüft. “I achieved two bests in the Hurdles and in 800m and equalled my best in High Jump. Because of the pain in my arm I was not able to achieve more in Shot Put and Javelin. For first Heptathlon of the year it was great. I always think about the current competition so it is difficult for me to compare this three wins in Götzis. But every time it has been in a great atmosphere and that is great.”
“Before Helsinki I will do one more Heptathlon at the European Cup in Finland. In between some individual competitions, for example at the European U23 Championships I should compete in the Long jump” said Klüft who is already the second best Heptathlete ever with four scores over 6800 points in her career, bettered only by the famous Jackie Joyner-Kersee with eleven.
Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton did four bests (and equalled one) and due to fantastic last event finished second and bettered her best by 123 points to 6547 points.
The USA surprise of the event was Hyleas Fountain who jumped into the world elite while bettering her best by a huge 467 points! Enough to break the 6500 barrier by 2 points!
Fourth finisher Margaret Simpson from Ghana bettered by 7 points the African record of Eunice Barber (6416 points) which was achieved in Talence 1996, when she was still a citizen of Sierra Leone.
In total, 15 women went over 6000 points, 8 personal bests were registered, additionally sixth placed Karin Ruckstuhl achieved a new record for Netherlands with 6318 points.
12.30 hrs – Long Jump: Klüft in her third jump achieved the same result as in Paris at World Championships - 6.68m - after jumps of 6.65 and 6.44, she is 89 points behind her Paris 7001 score. In excellent shape was Sotherton who achieved in her first jump a new best of 6.67 and so confirmed second position. USA’s Fountain was in the shape of her life too with also excellent best of 6.67.
13.57hrs – Javelin Throw: The leader had problems with pain in her arm, as on the first day in the Shot Put, and managed a decent throw only on her third try. This time 44.08m for Kluft, that means she had 5866 points before the last event. She was 201 points behind her Paris score. Sotherton did only 37.21 and lost the 2nd place and went down to fourth but Fountain bettered her best increasing it to 46.90m and stands second, while Simpson from Ghana was the best with an excellent series of 52.71 (6th best in Gotzis ever)- 52.43-51.75 and is third.
15.28hrs – 800m: Klüft started fast and led in the first lap in 63.88. But Sotherton stayed with her and went in front in the second lap. In the last 100 metres there was an excellent duel and Sotherton kept the pressure on Klüft and won. Both achieved new personal bests.