Estonia and France’s Romain Barras took the honours in the Decathlon while France and the Ukraine’s Hanna Melnychenko came out on top in the Heptathlon at the European Cup Combined Events Super League in the Estonian capital Tallinn on Sunday.
The individual men’s event went down to the wire, only decided on the very last event the 1500m, but Barras’ superior prowess as a distance runner proved to be crucial and he finished with a total of 8313 points, his second best performance ever.
Estonia’s Mikk Pahapill, the 2009 European Athletics Indoor Championships Heptathlon gold medallist, was second with 8198 points while his team mate and overnight leader Andres Raja ended the weekend third with 8023 points.
Raja stayed in the lead after the first event at the start of the second day after clocking 13.84 in the 110m hurdles, the best by anybody, and extended his lead over Barras to 127 points.
However, Pahapill had an excellent Discus throw of 49.81m to move in front by five points ahead of his compatriot after Raja could only throw 41.84m.
Pahapill kept his lead after the Pole Vault, in which he cleared 4.90m, but Barras overtook Raja and moved into second place with an excellent clearance at 5.00m while Raja could only manage 4.80m.
His lead narrowed to just three points after Barras threw the Javelin 63.71m to Pahapill’s 62.05m but then the Frenchman, one of the best 1500m runners among the top-level multi-event exponents, finished off his two days with a time of 4:25.03 to come home almost 20 seconds in front of Pahapill who ran 4:43.21.
However, there was consolation for Pahapill and Raja as they, along with ninth-placed Mikk-Mihkel Arro, combined to score 23,746 points and Estonia regained the team title they last won in 2005. Defending champions Russia were second with 22,742 points while France were third with 22,556 points.
Filling the bottom two places were Sweden and Spain, who are relegated and will contest the First League next year.
Melnychenko, sixth at last year’s World Championships, won the Heptathlon with a season’s best of 6098 points. France’s Marisa De Aniceto was second with 6010 points and Russia’s Aleksandra Rutvina a close third with 5990 points.
Melnychenko started the day in the lead with 3671 points and, in contrast to the men’s competition, never relinquished her pole position.
She produced a Long Jump of 6.21m, with Estonia’s Veera Baranova the best in the event with 6.45m.
De Aniceto was the best of the 30 women still in the competition in the Javelin with an outstanding throw of 47.87m but Melnychenko stayed in front despite her relatively mediocre effort of 38.46m.
The Frenchwoman, 12th in the World Championships last summer, then closed the gap further on her Ukrainian rival with an 800m in 2:14.24 but Melnychenko finished barely two seconds behind her to clinch victory by 88 points.
The team winners were France with 17,654 points while promoted Czech Republic made an immediate impact by finishing second with 17,402 while Russia was third with 17,301 points.
The 2009 champions Poland and Sweden were relegated to the First League.