World decathlon record-holder Kevin Mayer has qualified for his third successive Olympic Games after scoring a world lead of 8552 points at the Meeting de la Reunion on Saturday (19) to surpass the Olympic qualifying standard of 8350 points.
Mayer led from the first event and won by over 500 points from the Estonian duo of Taavi Tsernjavski (8030 points) and Risto Lillemets (7993 points) who finished second and third respectively.
In his first completed decathlon since breaking the world record in September 2018, Mayer excelled in the sprints in particular. He started his campaign with a sharp 10.68 clocking in the 100m and began his second day with a lifetime best of 13.55 in the 110m hurdles.
Mayer also performed well in the discus (50.32m) and javelin (67.66m) on the second day although the 2017 world champion was limited to a by his standards modest clearance of 4.65m in the pole vault. Mayer came to grief in this event at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha and vaulted off a tentative six-stride approach in his first pole vault competition since then.
The 2016 Olympic decathlon silver medallist was still all but assured of the Olympic qualifying standard before the 1500m and Mayer didn’t fully empty the tank in the final event. He crossed the finish-line in 4:47.74 although the time was immaterial as he achieved his foremost mission of obtaining the Olympic qualifying standard.
Mayer sported a shaved head for the last event in homage of his veteran teammate Gael Querin, who was contesting the last decathlon of his career. Querin fittingly crossed the finish-line first in the 1500m in 4:21.03.
In the heptathlon, Colombia’s Evelis Aguilar scored 6055 points to win a closely fought contest ahead of Estonia’s Mari Klaup (6014 points) and Sarah Lagger from Austria (6010 points).
Ukraine’s former world heptathlon champion Hanna Kasyanova was fourth with 5782 points.
Full results here.
Ryan Thomas Williams