Götzis, Austria - The Hypo-Meeting in the small Austrian town of Götzis has attracted the best combined events specialists in the world. Again, Götzis - IAAF Combined Events Challenge - features as the who’s who of this discipline gathering 26 heptathletes with a career best of 6000 points or more and 17 Decathlon specialists who scored 8000 points or more during their careers.
The meeting held at the Mösle stadium, well known worldwide as the “Mecca” of Combined Events, has assembled the reigning outdoor champion Bryan Clay from the USA, the reigning Olympic, European champion and World record holder Roman Sebrle from the Czech Republic, last year’s IAAF Combined Events Challenge winner and Asian Games champion Dmitriy Karpov from Kazakhistan and the 2006 World indoor champion André Nicklaus from Germany. The depth of the starting lists is shown by ten of the best fifteen Decathlon specialists from the 2006 world lists.
Clay ready for defence and World record assault - Decathlon
Bryan Clay makes his come back to Götzis where he won last year with 8677 points setting a world seasonal best despite difficult weather conditions during day two. The World champion from Helsinki 2005 won last year’s edition of Götzis by 384 points, the biggest winning margin in the history of the big Austrian meeting. He won four events (100 metres in 10.42, long jump with 7.67, 110 metres hurdles with a career best of 13.74 and in the javelin throw with 66.47) en route to the third best performance of his career. Only in two previous occasions Clay scored higher: at the Olympic Games in Athens where he finished runner-up behind Roman Sebrle with 8820 points (the second best performance in the USA behind Dan O’Brien’s 8891 former World record) and during his World championships gold medal performance in Helsinki where he totalled 8732 points. Götzis was the only Decathlon of 2006 for the US star who was later sidelined by illness and injury for the rest of the season.
The Hawaii native is now back to his best form and has announced his intention to attack the World record held by his rival and friend Roman Sebrle who became the first man in history to break the 9000 points barrier in Götzis in 2001 with 9026 points. Clay showed his good form in recent US meetings where he ran the 100m in 10.48 and the 110m Hurdles in 13.94, threw the discus 50.51 and speared the javelin to 71.64. His confidence was also boosted by the birth of his daughter Catherine-Joy last week.
Sebrle seeking sixth Götzis win
Sebrle, who escaped a career-threatening accident at a training camp in South Africa last winter where he speared by a javelin, showed his good form by winning his third European indoor title in Birmingham last March. During his career Sebrle won five Götzis meetings between 2001 and 2005. This summer last year’s European outdoor champion Sebrle will be looking to win his first world outdoor gold medal, the only major title missing from his showcase. Last year Sebrle was forced to drop out of the meeting after just three events due to a minor injury but he bounced back one week later winning in Arles.
The third man to watch will be Dmitry Karpov, Asian record holder with 8725 points and last year’s Asian Games winner in Doha. Karpov, the Olympic bronze medallist in Athens behind Sebrle and Clay, finished second in Götzis last year with 8293 points in the process of winning the IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
Last year’s Götzis third placer Maurice Smith from Jamaica will return to the meeting where he scored his CAC record of 8269 points.
German André Nicklaus, reigning World indoor champion in Moscow 2006 and fourth in Götzis last year, was sidelined by an injury which forced him to miss the European Championships in Gothenburg but has recently announced his goal to pursue his goal to attack the 8500 points barrier.
The younger generation of Decathlon specialists who may make a strong impact this year is led by 2004 World junior champion Andrey Krauchanka from Belarus, 2006 European championships bronze medallist Aleksey Drozdov from Russia and Germans Pascal Behrenbruch and Stefan Drews who finished respectively fourth and fifth in the Gothenburg European Championships. Sixth and seventh placers from the European Championships Aleksey Sysoyev from Russia and Romain Barras from France are also in the field.
The strong seven-men German contingent will be also represented by former World junior champion Dennis Leyckes (PB 8310 points) and Norman Müller (PB 8129 points).
Former World record holder and three times World champion Tomas Dvorak, who announced his farewell to his glorious career last year, decided to continue for one more season. The Czech star will make his appearance in Götzis where he will pursue a 8000 points score that would secure a berth for the World Championships in Osaka.