ATHLETICS: World leader for Thiam, huge lifetime best for LePage to win Decastar in Talence

Belgium's Olympic and World Champion heptathlete Nafi Thiam

The reigning Olympic and World Champion, Belgium’s Nafi Thiam, scored a personal best in the high jump on the way to a world-leading total of 6,819 to win the Decastar heptathlon in Talence (FRA).

Thiam’s total was just six points better than the 6,813 posted by Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR) at Gotzis (AUT) last month. It’s also Thiam’s sixth heptathlon win in a row and her second-best score ever, powered by her high jump best of 2.02 m (6-7 1/2). That mark is no. 2 on the world list for 2019, behind only World Champion Mariya Lasitskene (RUS).

Thiam finished 200 points better than Hungary’s Xenia Krizsan, who claimed a lifetime best of 6,619.

In the men’s decathlon, French world-record holder Kevin Mayer did not compete in the high jump or 400 m on the first day, but then continued with some events on the second day.

“I’m in the build-up for the Doha World Championships. It would be stupid to get injured at this moment of the season,” said Mayer. “The context this year is well different than it was in September last year. I want to win a medal in Doha and my body is not able to support more than one decathlon in a year.”

The decathlon winner was Canadian Pierce LePage, who claimed a huge lifetime best of 8,453, moving to no. 3 on the world list for 2019. His prior best was 8,171 from a silver-medal performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

He’s just 23, and this was his eighth career senior decathlon; his first was in 2016! He already a two-time Canadian champ, so keep an eye out for him in Doha.

American Zach Ziemek, 26, was second in 8,344, his third-best score ever and no. 6 on the 2019 year list. It’s the best score by an American this year and his best since 2016, so he’s in shape at just the right time. He finished seventh in the Rio Games. Summaries:

IAAF Combined Events Challenge/Decastar
Talence (FRA) ~ 22-23 June 2019
(Full results here)

Men/Decathlon: 1. Pierce LePage (CAN), 8,453; 2. Zach Ziemek (USA), 8,344; 3. Thomas van der Plaetsen (BEL), 8,214; 4. Leonel Suarez (CUB), 7,965; 5. Jeremy Lelievre (FRA), 7,778.

Women/Heptathlon: 1. Nafi Thiam (BEL), 6,819; 2. Xenia Krizsan (HUN), 6,619; 3. Laura Ikauniece (LAT), 6,518; 4. Solene Ndama (FRA), 6,290; 5. Marthe Koala (BUR), 6,235.