Olympic decathlon champion Damien Warner is on course to claim his eighth victory at the weekend’s all-around meet in Götzis in his 10th start in Vorarlberg. In the women’s heptathlon, last year’s winner, Anouk Vetter of the Netherlands, was also the frontrunner.
However, Warner and Vetter both have stiff competition. While the Austrian triathlon is at the start in all things women’s, the decathlon has to do without the participation of red-white-red. The 48th edition of the all-encompassing meeting once again presents a first class field of 56 athletes from 23 countries. 20 of the 29 registered athletes have already crossed the 8,000-point mark, 21 of the 27 heptathletes have crossed the 6,000-point barrier. For many all-around athletes, the goal on Saturday and Sunday is to either reach the qualifying limit for the World Championships in Budapest (August 19-27) or get the best result possible in order to get a chance to start in Hungary. . The limits are set very high at 8460 points (deca) and 6480 points (heptathlon).
The 33-year-old Warner (Performance Best: 9018) is Gotzis’ record winner with seven hits. The Canadian will have to fight hard for his eighth victory in Vorarlberg. With compatriot Pierce Lepage, World Cup runner-up in 2022, or 2021 Olympics third-place finisher Ashley Moloney of Australia, the competition is hot on his heels. A strong result is also expected from vice European champion Simon Emmer of Switzerland. Last year in Götzis, Ehammer set a world record in the long jump in the all-around with a jump of 8.45 meters and finished third overall.
In the final on Friday, Warner was, as always, in a good, confident mood. A world championship gold medal is just as much of a goal as the Olympics in 2024, but he also believes breaking Kevin Mayer’s world record – 9,126 points – is possible. When asked about his point target for Gotzis, the 33-year-old admitted he naturally had one thing on his mind, but didn’t divulge it: “We answer vaguely like politicians, we don’t know,” he also spoke for the person sitting next to him and laughing sons uncle.
Hot duel for women
In the heptathlon, Vetter will make life difficult for the Polish European Championship runner-up in 2022, Adriana Solek, and the strong Americans Anna Hall and Annie Kunz. After surviving injury, Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson – the 2019 world champion and Gotzis title winner in 2014 and 2019 – should also have a say in the battle for the podium. 23-year-old Sarah Lager from Carinthia, who already has 6010 points this year, wants to attack her best performance of 6225 in Götzis with the aim of qualifying for the World Cup. With Chiara Belinda Schuller and Isabelle Bosch, two aspiring athletes from Vorarlberg also compete. Austria’s top scorers Verina Mayer and Yvonna Dadic will not participate again due to the schedule and the backlog of training.
After “a very good year of competition in 2022”, Vetter saw himself fit for her first heptathlon of the season. Although she pushed the role of favorites to Sulek and Hall, when asked about her personal best throwing possible, she said, “Never say never!” Warner confirmed that the level in the Sevens is incredibly high. Al-Kindi said that there is a group of athletes who can score 9,000 points at any time.
Schuler was looking forward to her second start after the premiere last year. “It’s very cool to compete with top stars,” said the Vorarlberg native, who wants to achieve a personal heptathlon best and thus set a new Vorarlberg state record. As is almost always the case, the 31-year-old world record holder Mayer wasn’t the first on Götzis. European champion Niklas Kohl also decided not to compete. Among the women, multiple Olympic champion as well as world and European champion Nefissatou Thiam is the biggest absentee.
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