As we get ever so closure to the World Championships in Malaga, our very own Bridget Cushen continues with the build up by previewing the awe inspiring monster event that is the Decathlon
The Decathlon was first included in a World Masters Athletic Championships in Eugene, Oregon in 1989 attracting 196 competitors to the home of athletics, prior to that WMA held a Pentathlon. The men’s Masters age at that time was from 40 upwards. A Masters Scoring Table had already been compiled by, amongst others, the late IAAF Statistician Ian Hume of Canada. Interestingly, the M40 Age Category was won by Rex Harvey scoring a final 7724pts. He had already won the Pentathlon in Melbourne two years earlier in his first venture into our sport. Rex was to go on to play a pivotal role not only in the USA Masters, but on WMA Council and he was an influential member of the IAAF Masters Committee. We look forward to seeing him again in Malaga as Chair of USA Masters.
The schedule was redesigned to accommodate an extra two days. It has proved immensely popular. So popular indeed that the sheer number entering is now a World Record in itself, a staggering 273 men, 173 of them under the age of 60 will compete in Malaga.
An encouraging 21 men have entered the M35 contest with little between the German, Matthias Laube, with 6538pts and Branislav Puvak of the Slovak Rep. on a 6597 score. Heading up the 32-strong M40 Group is the host country’s Óscar González with 7949pts and 10 others have scored over 6000, including Mike Kuoppamaki and Dimitry Yakoushkin from the USA, Justin Francois, Netherlands who won the European title last year and Niels Uth of Denmark.
Michael Hoffer from Sweden stands out with over 7000pts in the M45, but Justin Hanrahan is coming all the way from Australia and although it is not track season down there, he is a strong challenger to the current European Champion. Europeans currently dominate the rankings. Duez Jean Luc, France took the M50 World crown in Lyon, his M50 World Record score of 7864 is still on the record book. The following men are also over the 7000 mark, Thomas Stewens and Olaf Kartenberg from Germany, Jurgen van Berkum, Netherlands, Thierry Ville, France and Brian Coushay, USA.
The M55 has the largest entry with 41 competitors. Jerzy Krauze from Poland is now free of his heavy commitment as Vice President of European Masters Athletics and no doubt has been preparing himself well for Malaga and the WMA Indoor Championships in Torun next March. He has a formidable task however as the current World record holder, Angel Diaz Granillo, Gutamala ran up a score of 8031 in Germany last year and is also on the entry list. He won the M50 title in Perth with a clear 7339pts then aged 54, from Stephen Kallenberg, Germany. Hendrik Gulbinovic, Lithuania, took the European title last year with a score of 6870.
Europeans again dominate the M60 with Hubert Indra, Italy, Roland Hepperle from Germany who is the current European Champion, and Brian Slaughter, Great Britain all entered and clashing with a strong contingent from the USA. Klemens Grissmer set a M65 World Record score of 8205 at the European Championships in rain soaked Aarhus, Denmark last year. Malaga is renowned for its late summer high temperature and despite the large entry, the German should see off all his opposition. The defending champion Valdis Cela from Latvia has not entered.
Stefan Hallgrimsson, Iceland, and Arne Warem from Norway clash in the M70 Group. Robert Hewitt, USA, is still credited with the M75 and M80 World Records and the M75 title may well be destined for the Americas again as Tom Blogett stands out in the 13-strong field and Knut Henrik Skramstad, Norway, will be aiming to add the World M80 title to his European crown.
If you would like to use a score calculator against the age grading, a good one can be found HERE