It ended as a day of disappointment for Britain’s legion of athletics fans as Daniel Awde’s challenge to the men’s Decathlon crown ended in frustration and injury during the first half of the two day event.
After a cracking start by the Briton in the 100 metres event, in which he ran a personal best time and lay seventh by the end of all four heats, the crowd at the Olympic Stadium, which has been incredibly vocal was hushed by the sight of Daniel Awde limping in obvious pain out of the sandpit in the long jump. He had already red flagged twice and his final jump left him short of pushing Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee who were already looking like running away with the overnight leader board.
It was no surprise when news filtered through that Daniel Awde was to retire from London 2012, make no mistake though; this is a man who can push for honours in Rio in four years’ time!
The long jump was eventually won by Ashton Eaton with a jump of over eight metres. An astonishing feat and he was never troubled in the event as his nearest challenger was the Belgian Hans Van Alphen. Alphen managed a personal best on the day, and yet even this sterling effort was not enough to come anywhere near to Eaton who beat him by a shade under 40 centimetres.
The shot putt saw the re-emergence of Kazakhstan’s Dimitriy Karpov as a possible contender for a medal place as he achieved a season’s best of 16.47 metres which earned him an impressive 880 points. Trey Hardee and Ashton Eaton were placed well down the official results; to be fair to them both the shot putt is not their greatest event over the two days but for fans of the Decathlon, the sight of Karpov being dominate in the event was enough to gladden the heart and open up the competition.
Two other personal bests were achieved in the event. A brilliant display of human endeavour by the New Zealander Brent Newdick and Eduard Mikhan of the Belarus were enough to give the crowd yet another reason to cheer.
Some parity was achieved in the high jump as Aston Eaton came second behind Cuba’s Leonel Suarez. Eaton’s team mate, Tony Hardee was in Group B for this event and he must have been pleased with his effort of 1 metre 99. This jump was more than to have placed him the top half of Group A.
Tony Hardee again upped his overall score by running a season best time during his heat of the 400 metres. Canadian Damien Warner also proved he was not to be left out of the jostling for position at the end of the first day as he also scored a personal best time of 48.20 in his heat.
At the end of the first day all talk was of Ashton Eaton who amassed a lead of 220 points going into the second day. It may be a lead that will be just too much to overcome by those following in his wake.
Standings after the first day’s events.
1st. Ashton Eaton (United States of America) 4661 points
2nd. Trey Hardee (United States of America) 4441 points
3rd. Damian Warner (Canada) 4386 points
4th. Oleksiy Kasyanov ( Ukraine) 4326 points
5th.Hans Van Alphen (Belgium) 4342 points
Ian D. Hall
Image: The Guardian