Torun 2021 Countdown: Rik Taam
Each day in the run up to the 2021 European Indoor Championships in Toruń, Decathlonpedia will feature some of the athletes competing in the heptathlon. Today we focus on the decathlon and heptathlon champion from the Netherlands, Rik Taam.
This will be Rik’s first senior international championships. He finished 7th at the European U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz in 2016 and competed at the European U23 Championships in Gävle in 2019. Gävle didn’t go to plan, and Rik no-heighted in the pole vault. But he came back from the experience fighting to win – as a guest – the Swiss championships in September in 7724, a PB at the time.
But Rik’s breakthrough came in the lockdown summer of 2020, when he broke 8000 points for the first time when winning the Dutch decathlon title in September, scoring 8031. He then followed up with his first ever 6000 point heptathlon score in Clermont-Ferrand in January 2021, scoring 6001 to win the meeting. And he consolidated that with 5903 at the Dutch indoor championships in February a few weeks later.
Rik is an all-round decathlete. He is fast in the sprints (sub 11 and sub 7 indoors), a good high jumper (2.09) and a strong thrower (his shot approaching 15m). He is also pretty quick over the distance events, so he is one to watch for gaining points in the final event, the 1000m.
Qualifying for Toruń hasn’t been a straightforward affair for Rik, his score of 6001 hovering around the cut-off point for the 12 places in the field. Janek Õiglane’s withdrawal due to injury moved Rik up into 12th place, but Dario Dester’s big score last weekend pushed him back down to 13th. However, Vitaly Zhuk did not take up his place, and the Dutchman was delighted to make it into the top 12 at the last minute.
Original photo: Bjorn Paree