Uibo sets early season world lead in the decathlon

Maicel Uibo
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World indoor heptathlon bronze medallist Maicel Uibo from Estonia began his outdoor season with a world-leading decathlon score and lifetime best in Athens, Georgia 

Just over a month after winning bronze in the heptathlon at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Estonia’s Maicel Uibo has established himself as a medal contender over ten events this summer.

In Athens, Georgia at the weekend, Uibo, 25, broke his decathlon personal best by 51 points as he set a world-leading mark of 8407 at the Spec Towns Invitational to show he could be in the mix at the European Championships.

It is the fourth best mark ever by an Estonian multi-eventer (the list is led by 2000 Olympic champion Erki Nool with 8815 points) and such a score would have brought him fourth at last summer’s IAAF World Championships in London and fifth on the 2017 European lists.

He did not finish in London but will now head to Berlin knowing a medal is there for the taking if he repeats this type of performance.

Though he did not break any individual personal bests, he recorded a series of consistent scores. “I am happy. I was able to achieve quite good results but technically, I am more rough,” he said after the competition.

If that means room for improvement, then a podium could await in August when Berlin co-hosts the inaugural multi-sports European Championships with Glasgow.

Uibo’s individual marks were: 100m (11.12), long jump (7.42m), shot put (14.71m), high jump (2.13m), 400m (50.29), 110m hurdles (14.97), discus (47.83m), pole vault (5.17m) javelin (64.42m) and 1500m (4.34.63).

Great Britain’s Tim Duckworth led the competition after the first day with some impressive marks in the first five events, including 10.40 for the 100m, 8.03m for the long jump and 2.13 for the high jump.

Duckworth was reeled in by Uibo over the course of the second day but still improved his lifetime best from 7973 to 8145 points to finish second, and move to fourth on the British all-time decathlon lists.

World and European U20 medallist Johannes Erm from Estonia also broke the 8000-point barrier for the first time in the senior decathlon, finishing third with 8020 points.

National half marathon records for Strahl and Vrabcova-Nyvltova

In the Berlin Half Marathon on Sunday (8), Martina Strahl made a sizeable breakthrough over the distance, finishing second to Ethiopia’s Melat Kejeta (69:04) in a Swiss record 69:29, the first woman from her country to break 70 minutes for the distance as she replaced the time of 70:17 set last year by Fabienne Schlumpf.

Twice a European champion in mountain running, Strahl shaved more than two minutes from her lifetime best which stood at 71:50.

Finland’s Anne-Mari Hyrylainen, 39, was third in a personal best of 71:04 while Germany’s European 3000m steeplechase champion Gesa-Felicitas Krause in fifth in 72:16 on the road to the European Championships in the same city.

Finishing eighth would not normally be a reason to celebrate too much but in the Prague Half Marathon on Saturday (7), Czech Republic’s Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova had every reason to be happy.

Being the first European home in the women’s event in a race won by Kenya’s Joan Chelimo who came close to the world record with 65:04, Vrabcova-Nyvltova broke a record which dates all the way back to the 1994 World Half Marathon Championships in Oslo where Alena Peterkova ran 71:20.

But nearly 24 years later, that record is the property of Vrabcova-Nyvltova after crossing the finish-line in 71:04.

Reigning SPAR European cross country champion Kaan Kigen Ozbilen from Turkey was also an excellent third on home soil in the Istanbul Half Marathon on Sunday in 60:08 while Belgium's Bashir Abdi made a promising start to his marathon career, finishing eighth in the Rotterdam Marathon in 2:10:46.


Fajdek opens his season in form

Even though his world lead didn’t even last 24 hours after Nick Miller produced a throw of 80.26m at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Poland’s reigning world and European hammer champion Pawel Fajdek showed he means business again this year.

Fajdek will be the defending European champion in Berlin later this summer and the Pole star threw 79.43m at the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables, Florida to beat Slovakia’s Marcel Lomnicky with 76.21m.

In what proved to be an excellent weekend for British hammer throw, Jake Norris achieved a British U20 record of 79.55m with the 6kg implement in Houston on Friday (9).

At the Trofeo Iberico Cup in Braga, Portugal on Saturday, European half marathon champion Sara Moreira claimed a dominant win in the 10,000m in 32:10.50, thus securing the qualifying time for the European Championships in Berlin.

A bronze medallist at this distance in Amsterdam two years ago, Antonio Abadia looks poised to return to the European Championships again after winning the men’s race in 28:17.24. Abadia is one of the in-form European distance runners, breaking the Spanish 10km record last month with 27:47.