Decathlon World Leader Cuba's Leonel Suárez in flight during the men's Decathlon Long Jump at the IAAF World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News

Suarez and Chernova prevail in Talence - IAAF World Combined Events Challenge

Talence, FranceLeonel Suarez of Cuba and Russian Tatyana Chernova took top honours at the 30th edition of the Decastar meeting, in Talence, France.

With a typically strong second day, Suarez tallied 8328 points to handily outscore Germany's Pascal Behrenbruch who totaled 8180, at the final European stop of the 2010 IAAF World Combined Events Challenge.

Chernova, the leader after day 1, collected 6453 points, nearly 150 ahead Olympic champion Natallia Dobrynska of Ukraine.

In the men’s Decathlon the top five finishers from the European championships took part. With Frenchman Romain Barras winning the continental title in the Catalonian capital many spectators came to the stade de Thouars to see their local hero for the first time after his success in Barcelona. More than 8000 spectators were following the performances of the “dieux des stades” as they are named in Talence during the two days of competition.

Apart from the top five from the Europe championships, Cubans Suarez and Yordanis Garcia also figured prominently. Both athletes had already competed in three meetings counting for the 2010 IAAF World Combined Events Challenge, but both hoped to improve their totals in the standings in Talence.

Decathlon –

Kasyanov, the leader after the first day, knew that in the second day it would be difficult to maintain his leading position. He finished fifth in the first evening, the 110m Hurdles, clocking 14.47. The victory in this event went to Andres Raja or Estonia in 14.11, followed by Jamaican Maurice Smith in 14.31. Smith is in preparation for next month’s Commonwealth Games and is seen as one of the favorites for the title.

In the second event, the Jamaican, the World silver medallist in 2007, showed his strength in the Discus Throw with a winning throw of 51.60m, thus moving up from his eight place overnight position to second after seven events. Kasyanov still held the lead with 5973 points ahead of Smith 5907 and Behrenbruch (5904).

In the Pole Vault the European silver medallist, Dutchman Eelco Sintnicolaas, didn’t start the competition until after all the other competitors were already done for the day at 4.96m. The young Dutchman started at 5.06m, which he managed with his third attempt. He also cleared the next height of 5.26m with his third. He had the bar raised to 5.46m, a would-be personal best, which he narrowly missed with his third try.

After the Pole Vault the first four athletes in the standings were separated by just 10 points, with Kasyanov still leading, followed by Garcia, Smith and Behrenbruch.

For Kasyanov the Javelin Throw is known as his weakest event. That didn’t change in Talence, where he reached just 46.48m, which dropped him down to seventh. Cuban Suarez meanwhile produced a fantastic 71.46m which not only brought him the victory in this event, but also to the top of the leaderboard. Thanks to a 63.77m toss, Behrenbruch moved ahead of Garcia who reached 62.89m

In the final event of the day the top of the leaderboard wasn’t affected. A tactical race from Suarez and Behrenbruch kept them in the top positions with Suarez notching a season’s best 8328 for the victory. For Behrenbruch, who missed the European championships, his 8202 point tally was also better than his previous season’s best from Gotzis. Third place was for local hero, Romain Barras. For the enthusiastic stadium he moved up from fifth after nine events. 
Heptathlon –

Chernova, the overnight leader in the Heptathlon, continued her strong performance from the first day. In the Long Jump no one was able to beat her best leap of 6.23m. Although the weather conditions were nearly perfect the distances in the Long Jump were rather modest. It was clear that the end of a heavy season was coming close.

Chernova was followed by American Betty Wade with 6.22m and Pole Karolina Tyminska, who leaped 6.20m. With Nataliya Dobrynska in fourth position with 6.14m the gap with Chernova was now 52 points.

The victory in Javelin Throw was for Czech national co-record holder, Eliska Klucinova. After the first day she was ahead of her personnel best in and was on course to remove the ‘co’ from her national record accolade. On day 2 her performances in the Long Jump and the Javelin Throw were inferior to her performances in Kladno earlier this year and after the sixth event she had to accept that a new national record was not possible during this weekend.

In the Javelina Throw, Chernova also beat her main rival, increasing her lead over Dobrynska to 96 points. Klucinova found herself back in third position coming from eighth position after the Long Jump. 

With Chernova clearly the stronger 800m runner, the winner’s podium step was all but decided by the time the gun sounded the start of the race. The Russian’s victory was her first since Götzis in 2008, prevailing over Dobrynska by 144 points.

Canadian Jessica Zelinka took third with a season’s best of 6204 points. Three weeks before the Commonwealth Games she proved to be ready for this championship.
Challenge standing

In the men’s standings for the overal Challenge title, the top 3 positions remained for Barras,  Suarez and American Jake Arnold. Sintnicolaas is in fourth position, 14 points behind Arnold.  

With her victory in Talence, Chernova took over the leading position in the Challenge from German Jennifer Oeser with 19,537 points. Dobrynska is in third position.

Hans van Kuijen for the IAAF

Click here for full results