Michael Schrader en route to his breakthrough victory in Gotzis (Lorenzo Sampaolo) © Copyright
General News Gotzis, Austria

Schrader and Dobrynska the winners in Gotzis – IAAF World Combined Events Challenge

Germany’s Michael Schrader sensationally won the 35th edition of the Hypo Meeting in Götzis with a new world seasonal best of 8522 points beating American Trey Hardee by just six points. Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska of Ukraine won the Heptathlon with 6558 points, the second best performance in the world this year.

Pascal Berenbruch completed a great day for Germany in third place with a new PB of 8374. World record holder and World champion Roman Sebrle from Czech Republic finished fourth with 8348 points beating overnight leader Oleksiy Kasyanov, fifth with 8266, a new career best. New lifetime bests were set by German Norman Müller (8272) and Nicklas Wiberg from Sweden (8213 points).

Behind Dobrynska, Ukraine claimed a podium sweep with Italian-based Hanna Melnychenko second with 6445, a new PB, and Lyudmila Yosypenko third with 6361, also a new career best. Then the top-three German heptathletes followed in the ranking: Lilli Schwarzkopf, fourth with 6337, and Julia Mächtig, fifth with a PB 6320. Jennifer Oeser also scored 6320 but finished sixth on countback because Mächtig produced better results in four out of seven events. Olympic bronze Tatyana Chernova was seventh with 6243 points.

Breakthrough for Schrader - Decathlon

The overall ranking did not undergo any major changes after the 110m Hurdles. Ukrainian overnight leader Olksiy Kasyanov defended his lead with 5388 points with a gap of 37 points over American Trey Hardee (5351).

Hardee finished third in the hurdles in 14.11 behind Jamaican Maurice Smith (14.01), who decided to continue despite his three fouls in the Long Jump, and Germany’s Behrenbruch, who set a new PB clocking 14.02. Schrader ran the fifth fastest time on the day with a PB of 14.21 stay in third (5289).  

Hardee slightly reduced his gap on Kasyanov to 34 points (6154 to 6120) after throwing 45.11m in the discus. Schrader threw 43.89m to stay in third (6017). The major changes came behind him, in third and fourth. Sebrle threw 46.71m and moved up from sixth into fourth with 5991 ahead of Behrenbruch who won the discus with 48.86m ahead of Smith (48.64m) and climbed into fifth place with 5972.
The Pole Vault produced a major change in the overall ranking. Hardee vaulted 5.10m (941 points) finishing second behind winner Eelco Sinticolaas (5.20m) and took the lead with 7061 points. Kasyanov vaulted in the B group in his weak event and cleared 4.50m and was overtaken by Schrader who, thanks to his 5.00m vault, clinched second place with 6927 points, 134 points behind Hardee. Sebrle (fourth with 6871) and Behrenbruch (fifth with 6791).

Hardee improved his javelin PB to 63.98m (798 points) and kept a margin of 133 points over Schrader who speared the javelin to 64.04m (7859 to 7726). Sebrle produced a best throw of 67.54m to move to third with 7723 points, just three points behind Schrader. Behrenbruch won the javelin with a very solid 70.24m and moved up by one place into fourth place with 7684. Kasyanov did not throw further than 50.55m and was overtaken by German Norman Müller, fading back into sixth with 7511 points

It became a dramatic battle to the wire into the final event. Hardee, who has a PB of 4:44 in the 1500m, had to defend his lead from the attack of Schrader who boasts a good, by Decathlon standards, 4:19 PB. Schrader followed closely on the heels of front-runner Wiberg who took the event in 4:20.16. Schrader crossed the finish line in second place in 4:22.26. Hardee finished well back in 14th place in 4:43.92 and lost to Schrader by just six points.

Schrader scored 8522 points, a new world seasonal best and a new PB. It was a sensational improvement for the 21-year-old, who entered the Götzis meeting with a 8248 PB. Schrader now becomes one of the best medal hopes for host team Germany at this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Berlin where he could follow in the footsteps of his coach Torsten Voss, the Decathlon World champion in Rome in 1987. Schrader became the first German to win in Götzis since Christian Schenk’s 1990 victory.

“I did not think about winning in Götzis,” said Schrader, who added that his pre-meet goal was 8400. “It is overwhelming to win in Götzis. I cannot describe my feeling. Yesterday I felt cramps during the 400 metres. Fortunately I felt well today without pain. I performed well apart from the high jump and the 400 metres.”

Dobrynska comes through - Heptathlon

Nataliya Dobrynska jumped 6.73m (1082 points) aided by a tailwind of +2.8 m/s (backed up by a second best jump of 6.61m) and took the overall lead, overtaking first day leader Ludmila Yosipenko (6.40m) and Hanna Melnychenko who leapt to 6.52m which would have been a new long jump PB if the tailwind (+2.1 m/s) had not been too strong. At the end of the event Beijing Olympic champion Dobrynska led with 4833 with a gap of 28 points over Yosipenko (4815) with Melnychenko third (4787). Meanwhile the battle for spots on the German team for the World Championships heated up with Julia Mächtig (6.42m) fourth with 4673 ahead of her compatriot Jennifer Oeser (4648). Tatyana Chernova, last year’s Olympic bronze medallist, scraped through a major upset in the Long Jump: after two fouls the 2008 Götzis winner managed to remain in contention with a safe leap to 6.30m before her favourite Javelin Throw event.

Dobrynska speared the javelin to 47.03m (803 points) in the third round and increased her overall lead to 83 points (5636 to 5553) over Melnychenko who set her PB in this event with 45.11m. Yosypenko fouled her first two attempts but remained focused with a safe 40.45m throw and remained in contention for third place with 5491, with a gap of 51 points over German Lilli Schwarzkopf who won the javelin (her strongest discipline) with 52.86m.

Dobrynska finished very strongly, winning her 800m heat in 2:12.96 (third best time in this event behind first heat winner Jessica Samuelson who clocked 2:09.52). After some ups and downs on the first day Dobrynska confirmed that the Olympic title was not a flash in the pan by winning the best Combined Events contest in the world with a 6558 point tally. However, this year Briton Jessica Ennis did better than Dobrynska with her 6587 points score in Desenzano del Garda.

“Yesterday was very bad,” Dobrynska said. “Perhaps I relaxed myself after my Olympic win in Beijing but I’m convinced that I could return to my best shape. After the first day I was very angry and determined to pick up where I left off last year. I managed to regain the power in the 800m where I set my new PB. My goal was to show my best in every event and I did that. My next competitions will be Kladno and then the World Championships.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF

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