Marie Collonvillé en route to her victory in Desenzano del Garda (Lorenzo Sampaolo) © Copyright
General News Desenzano del Garda, Italy

Xhonneux, Collonvillé take Multistars titles – IAAF Combined Events Challenge

Frederic Xhonneux of Belgium and Marie Collonvillé of France won the 21st edition of the Multistars in Desenzano del Garda, the inaugural leg of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge.

Xhonneux improved five individual personal bests to smash the Belgian national Decathlon record by 100 points for a total score of 8147 points.

Collonvillé, an experienced French combined events specialist, had a consistent second day to win the Heptathlon with 6256 points. It was the second win for Collonvillé in Desenzano after 2004. Collonvillé beat Anna Melnichenko from the Ukraine (a new PB of 6195 points) and Diana Pickler from the USA (6190 points).

Xhonneux takes command - Decathlon

Overnight leader Carlos Edoardo Chinin from Brazil pulled up injured during the 110m Hurldes race and did not finish the first event of the second day. As a result the overall ranking underwent a major change in the first positions. William Frullani from Italy, third after the first day, went to the front with a total score of 4882 points thanks to his 14.70 in the hurdles event (886 points), just nine points ahead of Xhonneux (15.05). Third was Ronald Schwarzl from Austria (second in the 110m Hurdles with 14.50) with 4854 points.

Schwarzl climbed to first place after throwing 46.35m in the discus. Winner in the Discus Throw was reigning Olympic bronze medallist Dimitry Karpov from Kazakistan who chose to take part just in some events in his build-up to the Götzis meeting. Karpov will spend three weeks in Desenzano to train for the big Austrian combined events meeting.

The star from Kazakistan then vaulted 5.05m in the Pole Vault but did not take part in the Javelin Throw and in the 1500m.

Xhonneux set a solid discus PB with 45.36m to keep his second place behind Schwarzl. The Austrian vaulted 5.05m defending his first place with 6575 points by just 33 points over Xhonneux who cleared 4.95m setting a new PB. Reigning World junior champion Arkadiy Vasilyev moved from fourth into third position with 6465 points thanks to a 46.27m discus throw and a 4.85m effort in the Pole Vault.

The turning point in the competition was the Javelin Throw where Xhonneux improved his PB to 63.56m (792 points) to move into first place with 7334 points. In the 1500m, the Belgian had another brilliant performance finishing second in 4:20.53, behind Joseph Detmer from the USA, who ran from gun to tape to take the event win in 4:05.31.

“I am happy because I could not train during the winter because I underwent an operation on my patella tendon,” said Xhonneux. “I needed 8075 points to go to the Olympic Games in Bejing.”

Collonvillé's steady climb - Heptathlon

Collonvillé, who was fourth after day one, had a great second day in which she managed to climb into podium position after leaping to 6.36m in the Long Jump. Overnight leader Diana Pickler also jumped 6.36m to improve her PB in this event and remained in first place with 4637 points with a gap of 17 points over Ukraine’s Anna Melnychenko who jumped 6.31m. Only Czech Jana Koresova did better than Picker and Collonvillé by three centimetres to win the Long Jump.

Laurien Hoos, who moved back into fourth place after the Long Jump, climbed to first overall position with 5366 points after winning the Javelin Throw with an impressive 50.23m throw (865 points) but she picked an injury which forced her to stop competing.

Collonvillé, second in the Javelin Throw with 46.81m (798 points), totalling 5354 points. She had just a four point lead on Pickler but considering her faster time in the final 800m the Frenchwoman had good chances to lift the Multistars title. Collonvillé accomplished her goal with a 2:14.36 run to finish third behind Jana Koresova (2:12.54) and Yvonne Wisse from the Netherlands (2:13.37) in the two-lap event. Collonvillé totalled 6256 points  

“Everything went well this weekend,” said Collonvillé. “I really enjoyed this Heptathlon because I could compete relaxed without pressure. The organisation of Desenzano is very good and the organizers are friendly.” Next up for Collonvillé are the European Cup for Combined Events in Hengelo and the Olympic Games.

Melnychenko was also delighted with her second place and her new PB of 6195 points.

“I am very happy because I could not train during the winter after a serious foot injury,” the Ukrainian, wife of Italian decathlete William Frullani, said. “I set a new PB but it will be very difficult to qualify for Bejing because there are four athletes who can achieve this goal. I will try to qualify at the Ukrainian Championshiops in Yalta on 6-7 June.”

American Pickler, a Social Sciences graduate of Washington State University, finished third with 6190 points, missing her PB by just 15 points.

“I went very close to my PB,” said Pickler. “I am happy because I pulled my harmstring in March. I had a rough time. I performed well in the hurdles and in the long jump where I set a new PB but I need to improve in the javelin before the Olympic Trials in Eugene on 27-28 June.”

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF