Doha 2019: Review

Doha 2019: Review

Doha, Qatar, 2 October 2019. The World Championships decathlon we had been waiting for all year. It was finally here.

Just a few minutes ahead of the 100m, the first casualty of the competition was announced. Tim Duckworth had experienced hip flexor pain in warmup and taken the hard decision to scratch from his first World Championships.  Nothing too serious in the long term but, as Tim later reflected, his disaster would soon be long forgotten in what was to come.
 
100M

The first heat of the first event was won by Janek Õiglane in 10.94, the first time he had ever run under 11s. Paweł Wiesiołek took the second heat in a season’s best of 10.76. An uncharacteristically slow 11.42 from Basile Rolnin suggested all was not well, and sure enough he retired from the competition after the 100m, the second casualty of the day. In the third heat, there was only a hundredth of a second between Damian Warner and Pierce Lepage in 10.35 and 10.36, but behind them Kevin Mayer stormed to 10.50, taking 0.05 from his previous best set during his world record series. Immediately the talk began about whether the world record holder would be on schedule for another world record. After the 100m, Damian led from Pierce, Kevin, Lindon Victor with his 10.66 and Solomon Simmons in 10.70.

LONG JUMP

At moments it was easy to forget that the Khalifa Stadium was an outdoor arena.  The air was hazy, almost foggy, but the temperature was kept at an ideal level thanks to the air conditioning system. Throughout the competition, in the sprint events and long jump, the wind was never more than +0.8. 

In the long jump, the biggest jumps came from Pierce (7.79), Damian (7.67), Ilya Shkurenyov (7.61) and Kevin (7.56 season’s best). One spot behind them Lindon Victor gave an early warning of his form, improving his long jump PB by 1cm to 7.51 after coming within 1 tenth of a second of his PB in the 100m.

But then appeared the first of several technical issues to trouble the decathletes. Niklas Kaul’s first jump was incorrectly registered at 6.32, seemingly measured from a mark in the sand left by the previous jumper. It was finally corrected to 7.19, his longest jump of the day, but he did not have that mark in the bank when he took his next two jumps.  But little changed at the top after the event – Pierce (2015), from Damian (1988), Kevin (1925), Lindon (1875) and Solomon (1832).

SHOT

Onto the shot put and the technical issues continued. Damian’s second throw was classified as a foul, later corrected to 15.17. But, again, the correction only came after his series had concluded. So, after a first-round throw of 13.66 and a foul, the options for a big third throw became more limited. 

The big throws came, of course, from Lindon with 16.24 and Kevin, who had the longest throw overall with an emotional 16.82, short of his mighty 17.08 from Paris but a decathlon best, nevertheless. Georni Jaramillo was close behind with 15.42, Solomon 15.33, Pieter Braun a season’s best of 15.26 and a personal best 15.26 for Paweł.

Still, little changed at the top with Kevin (2827) leading from Damian (2788), Lindon (2741), Pierce (2695) and Solomon (2642).  After 3 events, the focus was still all on Kevin, and what he might be able to do if the rest of the events were as strong as his first three.

HIGH JUMP

Drama arrived in the high jump. At his opening height, Georni failed to clear the bar and scored no points. But determined to represent Venezuela to the best of his ability in his first world championships, he continued in the competition. Unusually, the two groups ended up at similar heights, with 6 men across groups securing 2.02: Cedric Dubler, Tim Nowak, Niklas Kaul, Fredrik Samuelsson, Damian Warner, and Pieter Braun.

Above that Kai Kazmirek, Pierce, and Lindon all cleared 2.05. Thomas Van der Plaetsen went to 2.08 and Ilya 2.11.  But the first sign of trouble started to emerge for the world record holder, only clearing 1.99 at his final attempt, after 3 attempts at 1.96.

At the other end of the competition, Maicel Uibo was having a fantastic series. Clear over 2.08, 2.11 and 2.14. and then 2.17, just 1cm short of his 2.18 lifetime best.  And then he attempted 2.20 – a height that would have placed in the individual high jump final.     

After 4 events, Uibo (3523) had joined the top 5 behind Kevin (3621), Damian (3610), Lindon (3591) and Pierce (3545), all within 100 points of each other.

400M

The final event of the first day started the same way as the first event, with a personal best from Janek, 49.14. The final heat was run eyeballs out with a magnificent front-running performance from Kai, dead on his feet a few steps after crossing the line.  Pierce caught up with him in the last few metres and both were credited with 47.35, which was a PB for Pierce. But another man was down. Martin Roe had been disqualified for a lane infringement in the first heat.

At the end of Day 1, the momentum seemed to be with Lindon, Pierce and Maicel.  Ilya had also brought surprising form to the competition given his frustrating performances in Götzis and Talence. During the year he had seemed far from the form he showed in Glasgow, when he took the bronze medal behind the European Indoor Champion Jorge Ureña - Jorge being one of the victims of the decision to cut the field from 36 to 24.

Damian (4513) finished the day as overnight leader, with Pierce (4486), Kevin (4483), Lindon (4474) and Ilya (4340) behind him. Maicel (4317) and Kai (4315) had moved up to 6th and 7th, Solomon (4256) was in 8th, Pieter (4251) moved up to 9th and after 4 strong events, Janek (4189) to 10th.

Lurking, ominously, in 11th place was Niklas Kaul (4164), having quietly crept from 20th to 19th to 16th to 12th and then to his overnight position.

At the end of Day 1 there had been some amazing individual performances and some frustrating disasters. There seemed to be a curse claiming a victim in almost every event.

But the competition had not yet come alive, either in the stadium or in the stands.  Combined events fans in Doha and at home were forced to choose between watching the heptathlon and the decathlon – this was no Götzis or Talence where the schedule is designed carefully to suit both events - and spectators struggled to follow what was going on across both competitions beyond the headlines.

Were the world championships, supposed to be the highlight of the year, going to be a let-down?  In the mixed zone, the mood was also mixed.

We spoke to Kevin after Day 1 and asked him if he was happy with his first decathlon since his world record in Talence. “Happy, no” said the world record holder “But it was difficult. That is not a decathlon we are used to - beginning in the morning. I may not have so many repairs (time to rest between events) but I do what I have to do to be successful. Tomorrow is my best day so I’m pretty confident, but there is a lot of adversity. To be sure to be first, I know tomorrow I will have to fight.”

We asked him if he expected to be so fast in the 100m. “Yes. I expected that. I am a little bit disappointed about that because I think I can run faster. But this is sport. You cannot achieve everything in one moment, so I have to work to do it.”

So how fast was he going to go in the hurdles tomorrow? “I don’t know” he said “it depends if I sleep well tonight, of what my physio is going to do with me, so this is a big question. We’ll see tomorrow.
 
Damian was also tired. Asked how he was feeling he said “A little bittersweet. I’m in first place, so still kind of in the running but there’s a lot of events that didn’t go according to plan. But you have to deal with it, and come out strong tomorrow, and try to put up a good fight. I feel ok. My ankles are a little bit sore, it’s a little bit frustrating. But I’m out there doing what I can and hopefully at the end of it it’s enough.”

We spoke to Niklas, just outside the top ten.  “It’s a little bit hard for me because it’s so late in the season. But the weather conditions in the stadium are perfect for us athletes, and we can warm up in the Aspire dome, so that’s good. But I’m not in such good in shape as I was in Sweden. So, I’m really happy with my Day 1 score, because I’m only 44 points, I think, behind the score I did in Sweden. So, I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. But there are so many good athletes that performed very well today, and so we have to look at who’s going to be performing well tomorrow, then we will see what place I can make.”

One of the guys having a good day was Janek: “First event was good, and last one as well. All the time when I’m finishing the day with a good note, it’s going to be good. I’m feeling more positive for tomorrow, so the only bad thing is that I couldn’t get rhythm in the high jump. But overall I feel good.” On the schedule and how tired he felt: “It was a strange feeling to be honest. The events went so fast - we finished, we went to another event - after the shot put it was a little bit exhausting but in the high jump we got settled down and just relaxed more. I’m feeling pretty confident, because I know my sprint speed is back. This is the most important thing. The last long jump was really good, the new run-up is working really well and the consistency was there. The last one was again really good, behind the board, 7.25. It shows that my shape is good.”

HURDLES

Day 2, another day in the decathlon where everything can change. Onto the hurdles. The first heat went smoothly, four of the field delivering season’s bests and Ilya winning in 14.28. Maicel set his 2nd PB of the competition, 14.43, increasingly looking like a contender.  Martin Roe continued his competition after his disaster of the previous evening.

In the second heat, Janek hit the first hurdle, recovered. His leg buckled again, but he managed to stay on his feet. He did well to keep going and record 15.13, at least half a second away from where he would have wanted, but disaster averted, nonetheless. 

Describing the race, Janek said later: “After the first hurdle I thought, ok, now it’s over, for real. I don’t know what kept me going, but something kept me going. I somehow finished.”

But in the next lane, Kazmirek was not so lucky. He stumbled between the 3rd and 4th hurdles, causing him to veer towards the infield and run wide of the next hurdle.  In a flash Kai’s challenge was gone. It was over for the 2017 bronze medallist.  

Away from the chaos in lanes 2 and 3, Harrison Williams won the heat in 14.43, with Vitaly Zhuk behind in 14.49 and Niklas Kaul in 14.64. And then onto the third heat. Damian ran 13.56, but what of the world record holder, whose hurdles have been an electric 13.50 this year? Having limited Damian’s advantage in the 100m, would he do the same in the hurdles?

Kevin finished 0.3 of a second behind Damian, in 13.87, his slowest time of the year without a headwind, limping. Something was wrong.

After 6 events, the order was Damian (5545), Kevin (5474), Pierce (5436), Lindon (5345), Ilya (5279) and Maicel (5237).

But the world record holder and defending world champion was struggling.
The world leader was clearly not in the sparkling form he had enjoyed in Götzis.
The 2017 world bronze medallist was gone.

The balance had tipped towards the world indoor bronze medallist Uibo. But the most menacing presence in the field was coming from the Commonwealth champion, Lindon Victor, looking fearless, confident, threatening.

DISCUS

Lindon took his first throw of the discus. It was some way shorter than he would have liked. He wasn’t happy and he stepped out of the front of the circle in order to have it marked as a foul.

And with that small step out of the circle, the competition went batshit crazy.

Lindon’s second-round throw was a foul. He stepped into the circle for a third throw, crucial that it be a safety throw. He rotated out of the circle. He flung his hands to his head. The man who was having the best competition of them all had fouled himself out of contention.

The Khalifa Curse had taken down four men on Day 1. It had taken Kai, and it had now toppled Lindon. It was getting stronger.

But meanwhile others were performing well. Cedric Dubler and Harrison Williams threw lifetime bests of 44.30 and 44.23 respectively, and Ilya Shkurenyov continued his comeback form by extending his best, first to 47.06 and then to 48.75, the second longest throw of the competition.  Keisuke Ushiro had the third longest throw with 48.41 and Kevin 48.34. Damian threw a frustrating 42.19

Quietly in Group B, Niklas Kaul was throwing 48.10, adding 75cm to his personal best in the first round. In the second round, he added another 1.1m, going to 49.20, the longest throw of the competition.  That took him to 9th place overall. He had breached the walls of the top ten.

The event ended with Kevin (6310) leading from Damian (6254), Pierce (6125), Ilya (6123) and Maicel (6038). 

It looked like the competition might be about to revert to the pre-championships script, with Kevin and Damian pulling away in first and second, and the real competition taking place for bronze.

POLE VAULT

Going into the pole vault, the casualty list was growing.  Tim Duckworth (injury in warm up), Basile (retired after 100m), Georni (no height in HJ), Martin (DQ in 400), Kai (DNF in hurdles), Lindon (no mark in discus). Who would be next?

In Group A, Devon Williams was the first man to vault. The US champion was sitting in 7th place, with a strong javelin and decent 1500m to come. His season’s best in the vault was 5m, a lifetime best too.  He came in at 4.50, on the face of it a modest and safe height. But he could not get over, and departed the competition with no height, before any other decathlete had even jumped.

The Khalifa Curse had taken its victim in the 8th event.  Surely it was satisfied, and everyone was safe, at least until the 9th event?

On to Kevin Mayer, nursing a problem from earlier in the day, and the next and only decathlete entering at 4.60 in Group A.  His first attempt was no good, clearly in pain. In his second attempt he limped through and landed in tears on the mat. This was clearly not a niggle. It was over. He retired and did not take his third jump. The defending world champion – with no qualifying mark for the Olympics in the bank – was out.   The curse had claimed the biggest name of them all.

Meanwhile, continuing in the competition Kai equalled his PB of 5.20, his super vaulting cruelly emphasising what might have been.  Pierce and Ilya both cleared a best of 5.20, and Thomas took it to the next height, clearing 5.30.

In Group B, Paweł cleared a lifetime best of 4.90, and Niklas brought his outdoor PB in line with his indoor PB of 5m.  Damian cleared 4.70.

In Group A, there was only one man left. Maicel Uibo had cleared 5.00, 5.10 and 5.20 at the first attempt and after equalling his 5.30 PB, he attempted 5.40. The Estonians on the bend whipped themselves into a frenzy in the stand, joined by the crowds who had been given free tickets to the competition.  While Uibo gathered himself for his attempts at 5.40, the crowds chanted and clapped and surrounded Erki Nool. They may or may not have known who Erki was, but that was irrelevant. 

Uibo cleared 5.40, and moved into 3rd place behind the new leader, Pierce, and Ilya in second. Damian dropped to join Maicel in third. Solomon Simmons climbed to 5th place with his cartwheeling vault antics at 4.80. 

Moving into 6th place, the top 5 came into view in Kaul’s crosshairs.   The top 3 were separated by only 24 points. Kaul was only 250 points behind them with his two best events to come.

JAVELIN

Like the first heat of the 100 and the first heat of the 400, the first throw of the javelin was a PB (72.46) for Janek, a small improvement to his mark from the Estonian Championships. Despite the stumble in the hurdles, he was having a superb competition in the championships that represented his comeback from a 2018 ruined by injury. Cedric Dubler had had a rough two days but salvaged a highlight with a 2.5m improvement to 59.04. There was a further poignant season’s best for Kai with 60.08. Maicel threw 63.83.

But the tension was rising, and the crowd was drawn magnetically to the javelin end of the stadium.  In the second round of the second group of the javelin, Kaul was 5th in the order to throw. Braun was first. 56.27. Zhuk 56.84. Simmons a foul. Roe 59.22. 

Then Kaul. He backed up to the edge of the track for his customary long run-up. At the end of the runway he launched the spear, to 75.42. By normal standards that would be a magnificent throw. But his standards had been rewritten after his 77m in Gävle and his 78m in Berlin.  75m was simply the safety throw.

Second round.  Braun 59.84.  Zhuk 53.08. Simmons 53.25. Roe 58.33. Kaul took his second throw. This time, he let it rip.

It soared to 79.05, less than a metre away from 80m, wiping Leonel Suarez’s iconic javelin best from the record books.  The throw was only 18cm shorter than Thomas Röhler’s best effort in the javelin qualifying a few days later.

Kaul had defeated the Khalifa Curse and turned the competition around.

After 9 events, Uibo had taken the lead. He was 15 points ahead of Damian. Kaul had stormed the gates of the top 5, and arrived straight into the bronze medal position, 4 points behind Warner. Ilya was 24 points behind Niklas, Pierce a further 30 points behind and then a 200-point gap to Õiglane in 6th.

1500M

Kaul’s season’s best was 4:17.63. Uibo’s 4:37.95. Warner 4:37.39. Shkurenyov 4:45. Lepage 4:59.76. 

Everything pointed to Kaul coming out on top – he needed to beat Uibo by 7 seconds - but could he deliver his customary fast 1500 after that massive javelin and, in his own words, in worse shape than he was when he scored 8572 in Sweden?

The final event was introduced at 25 minutes past midnight. The stadium was plunged into darkness. Lasers strobed the track and the field where 8 men had fallen, in the previous two days, some for good. 19 men had made it to the curved 1500 start line, and their names danced in lights along the track.

The gun went. Warner went to the front. Uibo then made his bid for gold, taking the pace out among the medal contenders, quickly passing Warner. Kaul held back, balancing the need to put distance between himself and his competitors, and the danger of going too fast and providing a target for his rivals to aim for. The race continued and still Uibo was pushing on, and still Kaul had not kicked. 

Then, as he approached the bell, Niklas went. Pursued by his teammate Tim Nowak whom he had helped qualify for the championships, Kaul opened up a gargantuan gap. He finished in 4:15.70, 0.2s away from the time he clocked when setting the world junior record as a 19-year-old in Grosseto in 2017.  Tim finished next in 4:22.18 to finish 10th overall.

Uibo, gold gone, continued pushing to fight for silver, eventually finishing in 4:31.51 behind Nowak and securing second place, well ahead of Warner who made it round to a bronze medal in 4:40.77.  Lepage took 3 seconds off his previous best to finish 5th overall behind Shkurenyov. 

Like Kazmirek the day before in the 400, Uibo was dead on his feet, exhausted after the enormous effort of the second day. Shaunae, passing by after her 400m final, thoughtfully dumped a bottle of water on her husband’s head, and they celebrated their silver medals together.

But the moment was Kaul’s.  The European Under 23 champion had seen the opportunity to strike for gold when the world record holder wobbled, and calmly and efficiently he delivered 3 lifetime bests on the second day to achieve it. He was hoisted into the air by Solomon Simmons, congratulated by the new world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson Thompson, provided with a guard of honour by his teammates Nowak and Kazmirek, and took his place as the youngest world champion in history. 

The rest of the world started to realise that decathlon was not just about the world record holder, but that Kevin was bringing with him a whole load of decathletes with crazy skills.

The photograph above, taken by James Rhodes, captures in one shot the story of the decathlon. The French world record holder gone. The Canadian world leader at the front, being chased by the Estonian man in form. And the German waiting to strike in the background.

We asked Niklas after the event if he had, at the back of his mind, a gold medal in sight during his preparations for the event:

No, I never thought that I would be able to take the gold medal, because there are so many good talented decathletes out there all able to do 8600 points or more. So, in the end I’m really happy that I’m sitting here as world champion. But, I think, I’m not the best decathlete, of all of those, but maybe I’m the most consistent. That’s important when you have these long days, starting in the evening and finishing at night.”

His teammate Kai describes how important it was to finish. “It’s always a pleasure to finish with the decathletes and to go in the rounds is so important. I was in good shape, just the long jump wasn’t so good.  The hurdles went very pretty to the first three and then at the fourth, I began stumbling. And then I was out. The pole vault was good, the discus went well. Javelin was a season’s best. So, if everything worked, I think I could do 8500, 8600. Next year.

We asked Harrison Williams how he had enjoyed his first World Championships, finishing in 14th: “I learned a lot, events didn’t go too hot overall, I think I scored high 78s, so definitely disappointed with that. But I definitely learned a lot and hopefully I’ll be able to do a little better next time. I’ve been training for over a year - I think I calculated it and it was like 400 and something days now. I’ve been competing full speed since January, so it was definitely tough to have NCAA Indoors, NCAA outdoors, USAs, and then a whole month and a half break between USAs and here. So, I’m definitely glad to be done.”

On being mindful of the challenges of transition from the NCAA system to a pro-athlete, Harrison said: “I’m trying to be. I ended up moving across the country right after USAs, because my coach accepted a job at a different college. So that was definitely stressful and didn’t help all the added stress of the now professional track and field life. But I’ve been doing my best, and I’m learning along the way.”

Cedric Dubler had had a long wait during the season to see if he had qualified, and he finished in 11th. He talked to us afterwards

It was a bit of a rough competition if I’m honest. I was coming in with a few question marks with my hamstring. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to hit top speed or even hurdle, and it turns out the 100m - which is testing top speed - and the hurdles, were a couple of my best events. So, it was rough, we had some really good results, we had some results that weren’t as good.

What I really liked was how I was able to reset after each event.  There were some events that didn’t go well, but I was able to come back up and still smash a few PBS out there. I learned a lot about sticking to my technical cues that I’ve been focusing on in training and that definitely helped, big time. Discus I came away with a decathlon PB and the javelin I came away with a PB overall, and they’re the events that we’ve been putting a lot of the focus on. It’s obviously been a rough two days and, as we saw, a lot of the other decathletes struggled as well. By the end we were just dropping like flies, but it’s another one in the bag, it’s experience, and it’s all building towards next year, Tokyo.

I knew it was going to be a very long season starting in April. But what I ended up doing was, after Oceanias, which was about a month after Götzis, I shut my season down, did a bit of an off-season block. I stripped back some of the events, especially the discus, shot put and javelin, and started to work on some fundamental skills, and a few of those technical things, and it definitely showed here. I’m really happy that I did that. I think I could have done a little bit better overall, but it’s experience.”

That was a crazy few months watching the roll downs, up and down, looking at results, waking up and looking at results, refreshing the page. So, I’m hoping to knock out an Olympic qualifier at one point and just secure a spot so I can prepare properly.

Janek reflected on his 6th place in a decathlon full of casualties: “I’m so sad about Kevin, Lindon, everyone. I want to compete in the best field in the world, so I’m just sad that they got zeros and Kevin with injury.  I’m injured right now – my toe in the hurdles, my hammy is a little bit sore, my back was starting to hurt after the shot but I gave my best. So, the only bad thing after that 1500 was I wanted to score 8300 – only 3 points! But still, 6th place in the world.

As the decathletes explained in their words in the mixed zone, they were affected by the decisions made about the competition. As for athletes across the championships, the October timing affected the decathletes, and the lack of a sufficient break between some of the events caused problems.  Completing a decathlon between the hours of 4pm and 1am was a challenge. 

The field had been robbed of 12 deserving athletes who could have brought more diversity and skills to the line-up and could have secured valuable major championships experience to challenge to be stars of the future.  The problems with the process for issuing invitations so late in the day to those who had not qualified automatically was well documented, both confusing for those who made it in and distressing to the athletes who didn't. And the uncertainty on the horizon from the new rankings system – particularly stressful for the combined eventers who can only compete a few times a year – was on the mind of many. 

The Gundersen method, to be introduced at the World Juniors next year, would have turned this 1500 into something of a farce. For example, Kai Kazmirek was over 1000 points behind, which meant he would have only started his race as Kaul finished his. Instead of making the results clearer for spectators, there would have been a 5-minute delay before the results could have been announced, and the bemusing sight of athletes running on their own. 

Within seconds of Roe crossing the line and bringing the event to its close, the results were clear There was no spectator either in the stadium or watching around the world who would have been in any confusion whatsoever about who won gold, silver or bronze.  Instead, if Gundersen had been in play, the world would have been denied the legendary end-of-decathlon scenes of carnage, as athletes would have been cleared off the track to allow the rest to complete their additional laps.

In the press conference after the event, Decathlonpedia asked the silver and bronze medallists – the experienced role models of the sport who can speak with authority about what works - to reflect on useful measures that could be done to help develop combined events and give them the spotlight they deserve.  First, Damian, who had plenty to say:

“It’s definitely something I’ve thought about, educating the public about what the decathlon actually is, explaining how it works. In Canada for example, when I first started to do the decathlon, people always used to come up to me and say: “You guys do the decathlon, that’s like that running jumping swimming horseback riding…yes?” No, not those. And over the years of doing the decathlon at international competition, now people come up to me and say “Beat Ashton Eaton!” or “Beat Kevin Mayer!” They know all the competitors. They know what the decathlon is. I’ve seen in Canada how it’s growing and a lot more people know what decathlon is. And they get excited about it. It’s a really cool thing to follow. It has a points system, and once you understand what it is, people like it. There’s strategy, there’s different strengths, different weaknesses. If you look at all the decathletes that were competing in this field, we’re all super different."

"I’m a faster decathlete, Maicel’s an extremely good jumper, Kaul’s an amazing thrower.  I think that’s super cool, how people with different strengths are competing for the exact same medal. And I think once that’s explained to people it’s exciting. But unfortunately, I feel the story doesn’t get told in many circles, and not many people know what the decathlon is. We need more to be done in the track and field industry, more advertising and making it easier to watch. If you want to watch a competition, whether it’s the Diamond League or something else, you’ve got to go through so many different links just to find it. If I want to watch basketball I just switch on the TV, and there’s basketball."

"You have someone like Maicel who can jump near 5.50 in the pole vault, maybe even 5.60 or higher, and also close to 2.20 in the high jump. That’s pretty impressive. You’ve someone like Niklas Kaul who can easily throw nearly 80m in the javelin that’s super impressive that he can also run a 4:15. Tell me how many athletes in the world can throw 80m and run 4:15. I can only name one. And Ashton in the past ran 45 flat.  Then you have someone like Kevin who can throw 17m in the shot and he weighs just as much as us.  Pound for pound that’s one of the best shot putters in the world. There are some incredible athletes on this field and that needs to be showcased more."

And the world silver medallist Maicel called for more events like those we saw during the circuit this year:

Include a triathlon, like in the Paris Diamond League.  We need more opportunities to show ourselves, other than Götzis, Talence and the World Championships. But we can’t really do a decathlon every other weekend, even once a month is a little too much.  So, doing the little triathlons with 3 events focusing on our different strengths. Mix it up. A throwing event, a running event, a jumping event and include them in different meets where we can show ourselves more.”

2019 is done. Congratulations to the medallists, and to all the decathletes who made it to these championships and did themselves, and decathlon, proud. See you in 2020.

Photo credit: James Rhodes
 

 

 

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