Yordani Garcia in Beijing (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Ratingen, Germany

Garcia and Oeser win in Ratingen – IAAF World Combined Events Challenge

Cuba’s Yordani Garcia and Germany’s Jennifer Oeaser defended their leads after day one and won the 13th Erdgas Meeting in Ratingen, which is part of the IAAF World Combined Events Challenge.

Garcia collected 8348 points in the Decathlon to succeed his fellow countryman Leonel Suarez, who had won here in 2008. In partly wet and often windy conditions Garcia confirmed that he will be a medal contender at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany (15 – 23 August).

Germans Norman Müller (8295) and Stefan Drews (7858) took second and third places while the European Indoor Champion Mikk Pahapill (Estonia) had missed out at the opening height of the Pole Vault in windy conditions. He still continued and collected 7266 points from nine events with which he was ninth. He had been third when starting with the Pole Vault and would have been able to keep this position had he not failed.

The Heptathlon saw a German winner for the third time in a row. But this time it was not the defending champion Lilli Schwarzkopf who had also won in Ratingen in 2008. For the first time Oeser took the decisive German qualifying event for Berlin. She had been second in Ratingen in the past two years. The 25-year-old Oeser had started with 13.36 seconds (100m Hurdles/+ 2.9 wind) and then added 1.81m (High Jump), 14.17m (Shot Put), 24.48 seconds (200m), 6.50m (Long Jump), 42.12m (Javelin) and 2:12.70 (800m). Tatyana Chernova (Russia/6386) and Lilli Schwarzkopf (6355) took second and third places.

Decathlon: Garcia and Müller looking toward towards Berlin

A year ago Garcia had been on the original start list of the Ratingen event. But then he had to withdraw his participation due to an injury. This year he almost missed out again. Because of a visa problem he only arrived at Düsseldorf airport a little more than 12 hours before the start of the 100m on Saturday morning. But once he was on the start line there was no one who could stop the Cuban.

On Sunday he continued in strong fashion, building on his lead from Saturday evening. He clocked 13.89 110m Hurdles, improving his personal best from the Beijing Olympics by 0.01 seconds. After a 41.79m Discus Throw (PB 45.93) Garcia tied his personal best in the Pole Vault with 4.80m and then improved to 69.13m in the Javelin. Before his PB had been 68.74m. His weakest event however remains the 1500m, where he came in last in his race with 4:53.63 (PB: 4:46.80).

“It was a nice event, but because of the long journey on Friday and the late arrival I was quite tired – especially at the final events of the Decathlon,” said the 20-year-old Garcia. He will now stay on in Ratingen until 1 July. “At the World Championships I want to achieve at least 8500 points and place within the top four,” said the Cuban, who has achieved 8,496 points earlier this season.

Germany’s Müller kept close behind Garcia and finished second with 8295 points (10.91 / 7.47m / 15.27m / 2.02m / 48.95 / 14.54 / 43.65m / 4.80m / 60.89m / 4:29.20), which is a personal best for the 23-year-old, who had been second in Ratingen two years ago. For Müller it was already the second personal best this season. In Götzis he had collected 8272 points. He produced one personal best in Ratingen in the Shot Put, but was unlucky not to add one in the Javelin. While he probably threw 66 metres he stepped over the mark.

“This event was a big motivation for me regarding Berlin,” said Müller, who will form the German team together with Michael Schrader, who did not compete in Ratingen, and Pascal Behrenbruch, who gave up before the final 1500m race on Sunday. “The javelin throw which was annulled showed me what I am capable of. So I am optimistic regarding Berlin and hope to further improve there,” said Müller. “It is my goal to finish inside the top eight at the World Championships.”

Heptathlon: Oeser improves to 6.50 in the Long Jump

Oeser had been cautious after day one regarding the coming three events because they are usually not her best ones. But the 25-year-old did much better today with the exception of the Javelin Throw. Having opened the Long Jump with 6.09m and then stepped over at her second attempt she achieved a great improvement in round three. Oeser’s jump was measured at 6.50m, making her jump up and down the track in joy. She had improved to 6.37m recently in Götzis, but before this season her personal best had been 6.28m. After a below par 42.12m Javelin Throw it looked as if it could get very close again. Tatyana Chernova was just 39 points behind and Schwarzkopf had closed the gap considerably with a personal best of 55.25m in the Javelin. With this she also improved her own meeting record.

While Schwarzkopf and Chernova were regarded as the better 800m runners Oeser caused another surprise. When the attack by her two rivals was expected it suddenly was the overall leader who burst to the front with 200 metres to go. Oeser held on to win the 800m in 2:12.70, which was her fourth individual win in Ratingen after the 100m Hurdles, the High Jump and the Long Jump.

“Of course I am very tired, but if you win it feels that much easier,” said Oeser. “In the Heptathlon there are always ups and downs. Today the Javelin Throw was not good while the Long Jump was very good. Regarding Berlin I hope to further improve my personal best and then we will see what place I will reach.”

German Heptathlon head coach Klaus Baarck hopes that “one of the three girls will win a bronze medal and another one will place within the first six,” he said. “At present Jennifer is the strongest one.”

While Olympic bronze medallist atyana Chernova finished second with 6386 points (13.58 / 1.75m / 12.59m / 24.15 / 6.39m / 51.30m / 2:13.93), Schwarzkopf was third after a better second day, collecting 6355 points (13.58 / 1.75m / 13.88m / 25.43 / 6.23m / 55.25m / 2:15.72). Besides Oeser and Schwarzkopf it will be Julia Mächtig who will complete the German team for Berlin. She was fourth with 6074 points.

Christine Schulz, who had been regarded as one of the two possible contenders to snatch a last minute ticket for Berlin, was again forced to withdraw during the competition. In Götzis her back problem made it impossible for her to compete on day two. This time in Ratingen the Heptathlon was over after just two events: She had started with 13.76 in the hurdles and then cleared 1.69m in the High Jump. The other one who was trying to qualify at Ratingen was Sonja Kesselschläger. But she had to be content with sixth place (6010 points) behind Britain’s Louise Hazel, who scored a personal best of 6043 for fifth place.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF

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