Jennifer Oeser in Ratingen (Getty Images/Bongarts) © Copyright
General News Ratingen, Germany

Garcia and Oeser lead after day one in Ratingen – IAAF World Combined Events Challenge

Yordani Garcia and Norman Müller dominated day one of the Decathlon at the 13th Erdgas Meeting in Ratingen, which is part of the IAAF World Combined Events Challenge. The Cuban collected 4336 points and is the leader after the first five disciplines, in which his 10.68 in the 100m and the 2.08m High Jump were the highlights. Close behind in second position is Germany’s Norman Müller (4300).

The women’s leader holds a much bigger advantage in the Heptathlon: Jennifer Oeser (Germany) collected 3802 points after four events. The 25-year-old traditionally has a very strong first day. Tatyana Chernova (Russia) is in second position with 3621 points while Germany’s defending champion Lilli Schwarzkopf is third (3589).

Weather conditions were not ideal on Saturday, with heavy rain disturbing the women’s High Jump and men’s Long Jump. After less than an hour it was all dry again, but wind remained a problem.

Garcia and Müller looking forward to day two in the Decathlon

Garcia had a great start into the competition with a 100m time of 10.68 seconds, which was only 0.04 seconds short of his personal best. This was even more remarkable because the final preparations of the 20-year-old Cuban were far from ideal. He had been a late arrival the day before, when he came into the hotel at 11 pm. Because of visa problems his trip from Cuba had been delayed. Although it was not visible Garcia was not at his best and hopes to do better on Sunday.

In a wet Long Jump Garcia produced 7.23m, which is just 13cm below his personal record. He then added 15.02m in the Shot Put (PB: 16.50m), 2.08m in the High Jump (2.10m) and a fine 48.92 seconds in the 400m (48.77). Especially the High Jump was amazing, since Garcia cleared three heights (1.99m, 2.02m and 2.08m) at his third attempt. Altogether he had 15 jumps in this competition.

While Garcia has 4336 points after day one Germany’s Müller is close behind with 4300. He had a fine start with 10.91 seconds (100m), 7.47m (LJ) and 15.27m (SP) and was in the lead when they went for the High Jump. Here he also was close to his personal best with 2.02m (PB: 2.03), but could not match Garcia.

“I could have done better in the 400metres,” said Müller, who passed his third Long Jump because he did not want to risk an injury in the rain. “In Götzis I had started too quick and died on the home straight. This time I started slower, but it was too slow in the end. But I had a good first day and I am looking forward to day two.”

Germany’s Nils Büker took a surprising third place after day one with 4135 points (10.78 / 7.51m / 13.35m / 1.93m / 49.05) while the European Indoor Champion Mikk Pahapill (Estonia) is fourth with 4100 (11.07 / 7.55m / 14.74m / 1.96m / 51.04).

“Norman’s performance did not surprise me, because he was strong in Götzis. And after this meeting he was not too tired when preparing for Ratingen. It is a good tough test for the World Championships if he does well here again,” said Claus Marek, the German Decathlon head coach, who is also the Meeting Director of the Ratingen event.

Heptathlon: Great first day and big lead for Oeser

“Multiple events athletes are never fully satisfied, but yes, this was a very good day for me,” said Oeser. After day one she has 3802 points and is on course for a personal best. This stands at 6436 points from Ratingen 2008, where she had finished second for the second time in a row. Oeser, who had her international breakthrough when placing fourth at the European Championships in Gothenburg in 2006, had started the day with the fastest 100m Hurdles she ever ran (13.36 seconds), though with a tail wind of 2.9.

Jennifer Oeser then continued with a 1.81m High Jump. “Luckily the rain had stopped when we were targeting the higher heights,” Oeser said. She then went on with a very good Shot Put of 14.17m, missing her personal best by just four centimetres. “Besides the personal best in the Hurdles the Shot Put was superb for me.” In the 200m she concluded the day with a fine 24.48 performance, which was also close to her personal record (24.32).

“Now I hope to finish as the best German tomorrow or maybe I can even win the event,” said Oeser. Despite her big advantage she remains cautious, knowing that the second day is her weaker one. And it was two years ago when she had a good lead in Ratingen after day one but then lost her advantage on the Sunday and finished second behind Lilli Schwarzkopf. “I remember that very well. And the second day still is the one, where I lose points and others catch up. But a year ago I had a good Long Jump here, so I hope to be okay tomorrow.” 

The Olympic bronze medallist Tatyana Chernova (Russia) had a day of mixed performances. Starting very well in the Hurdles with 13.58 she continued with 1.75m in the High Jump and 12.59m in the Shot Put before ending her day with a 24.15 in the 200 m for a total of 3621 points.

Defending champion Schwarzkopf recorded exactly the same performances as Cheronova in the first two events (13.58 and 1.75m), followed by 13.88m in the Shot Put and 25.43 seconds in the 200. She is in third position with 3589 points. Although Schwarzkopf has produced great second days it does not look likely that she is able to catch Oeser tomorrow.

“My form is not as good as it should be. That was the same already in Götzis. And Jennifer had a great day today,” said Schwarzkopf, who feels not fresh enough after all her recent training. Not far behind her are Germans Sonja Kesselschläger (3549) and Julia Mächtig (3547) in fourth and fifth positions.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF

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