Canadian starts with a decathlon world best 110m hurdles and an Olympic best long jump, whereas Britain’s Andy Pozzi progresses to sprint hurdles final
World leader and favourite Damian Warner started sensationally in the decathlon. He won his 100m heat in 10.12 to equal his world decathlon best as he finished two metres ahead of Australian Ashley Moloney’s 10.34 PB to score 1066 points to Moloney’s 1013.
The other heats were won by London Victor in 10.67 and Jorge Urena in 10.66. World record-holder Kevin Mayer, who finished second to Warner’s third in Rio, ran 10.68 to lie ninth on 933 points.
Warner maintained his huge dominance in the long jump as his first round 8.24/0.2 leap was an Olympic decathlon record.
After two events he was now on the huge score of 2189 points, 206 ahead of Moloney who jumped 7.65m on 1983 and Pierce Lepage who jumped 7.65m to move up to 1964 points.
Almost a 100 points back from the medal positions, Mayer jumped 7.50m to move up to fourth on 1868 points.
Warner was always going to lose ground in the shot put, but he remained on target for a 9000-point score with a 14.33m first round – fractionally up on his Gotzis throw before unleashing a season’s best of 14.80m in the final round.
Vitaliy Zhuk threw longest with 16.23m but the scores at the end of the first morning were Warner on 2966 with his Canadian team-mate LePage throwing 15.31m for 2773 points with Moloney throwing 14.49m for 2741 with Mayer closing a little with a 15.07m for 2662 points.
Pozzi makes hurdles final with Holloway fastest
Andrew Pozzi was far more convincing than in his heat though faded slightly over the closing hurdles as Jamaican Ronald Levy won in 13.23/0.3 from Doha bronze medallist Pascal Martinot-Lagarde’s 13.25 to bag the two automatic spots.
Spain’s Asier Martinez set a PB 13.27 in third with Pozzi’s 13.32 just edging 13.00 performer Daniel Roberts (13.33) to at least give himself a chance of a fastest losers spot.
He survived in that fastest losers spot in the second heat which was won by Rio fifth-placer Devon Allen in 13.18/0.1 from France’s surprise second-placer Aurel Manga’s PB equalling 13.24 well clear of slow starting and fast finishing Damion Thomas’s 13.39 as Japan’s Taio Kanai had a heavy fall after leading over the first few hurdles.
World champion Grant Holloway had run a near world record 12.81 in the US Trials semi-final but here he just settled for victory with a 13.13/-0.1 win with Jamaican Hansle Parchment second on 13.23 to gain the other automatic spot.
For Pozzi’s benefit there was a clear gap to third and Japan’s Shunsuke Izumiya’s 13.35 meant the Briton had squeezed into the final. David King could not replicate his best form and was seventh in 13.67.
Once he knew he was in the final Pozzi said: “That wait was horrible, excruciating. It’s the first time I’ve had to go through that wait, hopefully it will be the last and I’m so happy to make the final. I feel like I’m growing in this competition, I felt much more comfortable on that run, and I’m really confident that tomorrow will be better again. I’m really happy to have the opportunity to do more.
“I was trying to get as level with the finish line as possible to try to figure it (qualification) out. It was close, there were a lot of people fighting for that spot, so it was very nervy and I was just hanging around the end and just staring at the scoreboard. I’m happy to go again but let’s be clear, it will need to be better and I feel confident that I’ll do that, so let’s move forward.
“It’s just trying to get some rounds in, because the conditions are a little bit different, unfortunately in the heats yesterday because of a bumpy start and a couple of clashes of arms it was actually a really difficult race for me, and I wasn’t able to find any rhythm, so today really felt like a bit of a first time out, so I’m confident that I’m going to feel much better again tomorrow and I’m going to have an opportunity to really show my best.”
King said: “It was messy from the start – I kind of stumbled out of the blocks and when you don’t set up your hurdles race right its really hard to come back from it. My only goal today however was to go out and enjoy it and I definitely did. It was nice to be around the guys running super-fast. It’s definitely nice to surround myself with these people, and yeah its an Olympic Games – it’s a great experience.
“It’s important to race these guys because if I’m not used to racing people this fast I don’t know how I’m going to become that fast. One day I want to be beating those guys and this is a way I can build up to it.”
Vetter settles nerves in javelin
World champion Johannes Vetter did not totally convince in Group A of the javelin qualification lying in a non-qualifying position after two throws with 82.08m but he found a 85.54m throw to gain him an automatic spot on the final and was second best in the group to India’s Neeraj Chopra’s 86.65m.
Finn Lassi Etelatalo also came home with a qualifier with 84.50m.
In the second group a hour later Arshad Nadeem qualified with a 85.16m as did Jakub Vadlech with 84.93m and Julian Weber with 84.41m.
A throw of 82.40m made it through to the final for a top 12 place but missing out were reigning world champion Anderson Peters (80.42m), former Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott (79.33m) and former world champion Julius Yego (77.34m).