The February Ten

Every month, I share a digest of ten decathlon-related facts, figures and features.  Here’s my pick of the best of February 2019.

1 The first day of February was marked by the arrival of Maicel Uibo (from Götzis 2018) on the Decathletes of Europe Calendar.  But Maicel wasn’t the only Estonian throwing shapes. The Tallinn Combined Events meeting on 2-3 February reminded us just how awesome Estonian decathlon is.

2 February 2019 will go down as one of the most important months in the history of decathlon.  Why? Did Kevin break the world record again? Did Lev Lobodin decide to make a comeback? Was the 1500 metres replaced by the 3000m steeplechase? No, February 2019 saw the launch of not one, but two new websites devoted to the decathlon.  The first, of course, was Decathletes of Europe, but a week later we were also treated to the launch of the stellar Decathlonpedia.com.  I was delighted to join the Decathlonpedia team, and we will be working together to bring you some great decathlon stories, history, facts and figures across both websites, alongside our friends at Decathlon 2000.  

3 In February, the 6000-point mark for the heptathlon took a real pounding. Thomas Van der Plaetsen and Fredrik Samuelsson exceeded 6000 points for the first time this season, and Jiří Sýkora, Janek Õiglane and Basile Rolnin broke 6000 for the first time ever, becoming the 7th, 8th and 9th men to do so for the Czech Republic, Estonia and France respectively.

4 Continuing the Estonian theme, I’ve been enjoying Eesti Kergejõustiku Meemid. They are the greatest thing on Instagram. Go check them out.

5 As threatened in January, the 20-year old Scottish heptathlon record was broken in February. Andrew Murphy finally surpassed Jamie Quarry’s record of 5640, set on Valentine’s Day 1999 at the legendary Kelvin Hall, with a score of 5662 at the Scottish championships in Glasgow.  Jamie sent his congratulations to Andrew but could not be persuaded to come out of retirement.

6 While Lev Lobodin and Jamie Quarry don’t plan to make a comeback, some familiar faces are planning to have another round of decathlon in the run up to 2020. Honorary Decathletes of Europe Curtis Beach and Brent Newdick are aiming to get back into form.   Enjoy Curtis’ 30-minute decathlon endeavours (6242) at the Thoreson 30 (and check Sharon Day-Monroe in third place). And after a number of injuries in 2013-15, Brent is back enjoying training, and heading over to Europe in April to start the preparation for 2020 at Multistars.

7 As one batch of NCAA graduates got ready for the European Indoor Championships, a new wave of NCAA multieventers are starting to make their mark for 2019 in the second half of the indoor season. Watch out for Johannes Erm, Axel Hubolt, Finlay Gaio, Harrison Williams, Gabe Moore, Ayden Owens, Nathan Hite and of course Gary Haasbroek.  

8 Laura Ikauniece’s first big competition in the pentathlon was in the Combined Events meeting in Tallinn – a long road back from injury, and an exciting return. One of the most interesting things to watch is the change in her high jump take off leg – and the new bests she’s setting in the process.  Things are looking good for Glasgow.

9 Belgian slowly emerged as a multievent superpower during February. While Nafi Thiam withdrew from competitions to nurse an injury, we still had Belgian names at the top of the heptathlon and pentathlon world lists during February.  Going into the European Indoor Championships Thomas van der Plaetsen topped the world lists with 6132 (see below for the pole vault highlight of that score); and Hanne Maudens also led the world briefly during February with a pentathlon score of 4569 – followed by a Belgian long jump record of 6.53 a few weeks later.

X February has also been the month for pole vault PBs; February’s vaulting Uibo has clearly been an inspiration.   To name a few: Makenson Gletty (4.75), Taavi Tšernjavski and Martin Roe (4.90), Janek Õiglane (5.19) and second best >6000 heptathlon PV of all time, Thomas Van der Plaetsen with 5.50.

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