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Mayer beats rival decathletes in long-distance challenge

AFP/Paris
Filed on June 7, 2020
Mayer was at a track in Montpellier in France, world champion Kaul indoors in his home town Mainz, Germany, and Uibo in Clermont, Florida (Reuters)

World record holder Kevin Mayer came out on top as three of the world's top decathletes resumed international competition on Sunday without leaving their training facilities.

Mayer, German Niklas Kaul and Estonian Maicel Uibo followed the lead of pole vaulters in May by adding another innovative live-streamed event to the depleted track and field under the "Ultimate Garden Clash" banner.

After winning, Mayer told AFP that it was good to return to competition.

"I was stressed all day like I was before a big championship. Especially since we'd never done this before, it was a total unknown," Mayer said by telephone.

"I'm the world record holder, so you have to take responsibility for your title. I had everything to lose and nothing to gain so I put a lot of pressure on myself, I didn't know if I'd be good at it."

Mayer was at a track in Montpellier in France, world champion Kaul indoors in his home town Mainz, Germany, and Uibo in Clermont, Florida.

The constraints ruled out several disciplines, including Kaul's speciality the javelin.

Instead, the men opened by attempting to clear a pole-vault bar set at 4.00 metres as often as possible in 10 minutes.

They then put the shot for 10 minutes, scoring for each throw beyond the 12 metres, and finished with a gruelling shuttle run, with a point for every lap round two cones placed 20 metres apart, in five minutes.

Each man had one helper to keep score and operate the camera and Mayer missed the start because he was getting a drink.

World Athletics denied his request for an extra 25 seconds vaulting but he still took the lead with 17 clearances, while Uibo managed 15 and Kaul 14.

Mayer increased his edge in the throwing event, where the competitors had to run and retrieve their shot after each effort. He reached at least 12 metres 28 times, while Kaul scored 22 and Uibo 20.

Kaul won the shuttle run, with 27 40-metre laps, for a total of 1,080 metres instead of the 1,500 decathletes usually run in their last event.

Mayer, despite slowing up in his final lap, ran just one fewer to win comfortably.

"I had fun," said Mayer. "Under the circumstances, it was cool to have a competition."

"But I'm a decathlete first and foremost, that's not what I'm training for at all. All I want to do is get back to being a real decathlete."


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