WC Men’s Decathlon — It Took A While For Kaul To Get Going

It wasn’t until he PRed in the javelin, event No. 9, that Niklaus Kaul even moved into a medal position. (JIRO MOCHIZUKI/PHOTO RUN)

HE HAS BEEN called “the star of the future” but apparently Niklaus Kaul is not interested in waiting around. Considered an outside medal possibility for Doha, the 21-year-old German fought his way back from a first day that left him in 11th and he only took the lead when he won the 1500, scoring a PR 8691 for gold. Unlike most major decathlons, where the winner tends to have the lead or be near it after the first couple of events, not only did Kaul not take the lead until the last event, he also never even made it into the overall Top 10 until event No. 7. His steady climb through the overall standings: 100—20th, LJ—19th, SP—16th, HJ—12th, 400—11th, 110H—11th, DT—9th, PV—6th, JT—3rd, 1500—1st.

Said the victor, “I never thought that I could take the gold medal because there are so many strong and talented decathletes here who could score 8600 points or more. But I’m really happy to sit here as world champion. I still think I’m not the best decathlete in the world, but maybe I’m the most consistent—that’s very important.”

100 Meters

In the early going the focus was on the favorites, World Record holder Kevin Mayer of France and Canada’s Damian Warner. Though Warner had set a Deca WR with his 10.12 at Götzis, he only ran 10.35, with countryman Pierce LePage next at 10.36. Mayer, however, hit 10.50, chipping 0.05 off his PR to stand 3rd. Kaul’s 11.27 didn’t even put him on the radar in 20th, although it was his fourth-fastest time ever.

Long Jump

Mayer continued his solid start with 24-9¾ (7.56), but well of the PR 25-7¼ (7.80) he set in his WR. Warner hit 25-2 (7.67), well off his best of 26-4½ (8.04) and fell to 2nd behind LePage, whose 25-6¾ (7.79) missed his PR by just a centimeter. Grenada’s Lindon Victor PRed at 24-7¾ (7.51) to remain 4th. Kaul, meanwhile, reached only 23-7¼ (7.19) but climbed a place to 19th.

Shot

Mayer hit a deca PR 55-2¼ (16.82), which put him in the lead by 39. Warner reached 49-9¼ (15.17) while Victor, strengthening his claim for a medal, went 53-3½ (16.24) to pass LePage (43-4¼/13.21). Kaul hit a modest, but near-PR, 49-6½ (15.10) to rise to 16th.

High Jump

Estonia’s Maicel Uibo led at 7-1½ (2.17), just a centimeter off his best, moving into medal contention in 5th after having been only 16th, 12th & 9th after the first 3 events. Mayer and Warner both jumped 6-7½ (2.02) to keep the margin the same going into the 400, but Mayer ominously looked to be hurting. Victor, a 2-time NCAA deca champ for Texas A&M in ’16 and ’17, cleared 6-8¾ (2.05) to stay in 3rd. Kaul’s 6-7½ (2.02) raised him to 12th.

400 Meters

To close out the first day, Mayer sprinted 48.99, with Warner at 48.12. LePage hit a PR 47.35 to elevate himself back to silver position. The day 1 tallies: Warner 4513, LePage 4486, Mayer 4483, Victor 4474, Russia’s Ilya Shkurenyov 4340, Uibo 4317. Kaul, who had run 48.48, was far back in 11th.

110 Hurdles

Warner began Day 2 by extending his lead after running the fastest flight, 13.56, with Mayer at 13.87, so the Canadian’s margin grew from 30 to 82. The Frenchman did pass LePage, who checked in at 14.19. Kaul hit a good by his standards 14.64, staying 11th.

Discus

The discus is where the German started picking up some real points. He led the event with a PR 161-5 (49.20) to climb into 9th. Mayer threw 158-7 (48.34) to regain the overall lead but in an ominous note had to receive electro-stimulation on his left hamstring before the throwing started. Warner lost big points with his 138-5 (42.19), so Mayer led by 56, with LePage still 3rd. Victor fouled 3 times and was out, so Shkurenyov and Uibo moved to 4th and 5th.

Pole Vault

The fiberglass event shook up the standings. The hobbled Mayer had to withdraw in tears after he couldn’t even get down the runway on his second try at his opening height. Uibo, 5th coming in, led with a PR 17-8½ (5.40) that pulled him up to =3rd with Warner. A 17-¾ (5.20) clearance by LePage was enough to make him the leader, with a mere 2-point lead over Shkurenyov, just 22 points up on Uibo and Warner’s 7073. Kaul had vaulted a PR 16-4¾ (5.00) to move to 6th.

Javelin

Kaul dominated the javelin with his big 259-4 (79.05), a PR. That lifted him to bronze position. “I never expected to throw such a distance,” he said. Uibo moved into the lead on the strength of his 208-9 (63.63), with Warner 206-3 (62.87) holding 2nd. Noted Warner, “Niklas went out and threw 79m and popped the bubble and deflated everyone a bit.”

1500 Meters

At 32 minutes past midnight came the 1500. Never before in World Championships history had an overall winner taken first in the 1500, but that’s exactly what Kaul felt he had to do if he wanted a chance to win. For gold, he would need to top Uibo by nearly 3 seconds. And with the top 5 athletes clustered within 73 points, the more cushion, the better. “I thought it could be my only chance to get a gold medal,” he said.

He did just that and more. He took the lead before the 800 and gutted out a 4:15.70 that missed his PR by just 0.18. Uibo held on to his margin over Warner and that settled the medals, with Shkurenyov missing the podium by 35 with his 8494. Solomon Simmons scored 8151 in 8th to lead the Americans. Harrison Williams was 14th at 7892, while Devon Williams had worked his way into the top 10 before no-heighting in the vault.

Kaul had developed quite the championship pedigree even before Doha: 2015—he won the World Youth (U18) gold and added the javelin silver; 2016—World Junior (U20) gold; 2017—European Junior gold with the highest U20 score ever; 2018—European Championships 4th at age 20.


WC MEN’S DECATHLON RESULTS

(October 02–03, with 1500s on 04 as continuation)

1. Niklas Kaul (Ger) 8691 PR

(11.27, 23-7¼/7.19, 49-6½/15.10, 6-7½/2.02, 48.48 [4164–11],

14.64, 161-5/49.20, 16-4¾/5.00, 259-4/79.05, 4:15.70 [4527]);

2. Maicel Uibo (Est) 8604 PR

(11.10, 24-5¾/7.46, 49-7¼/15.12, 7-1½/2.17, 50.44 [4317–6],

14.43, 153-0/46.64, 17-8½/5.40, 209-5/63.83, 4:31.51 [4287]);

3. Damian Warner (Can) 8529

(10.35, 25-2/7.67, 49-9¼/15.17, 6-7½/2.02, 48.12 [4513–1],

13.56, 138-5/42.19, 15-5/4.70, 206-3/62.87, 4:40.77 [4016]);

4. Ilya Shkurenyov (Rus) 8494

(11.02, 24-11¾/7.61, 48-3¼/14.71, 6-1½.11, 49.36 [4340–5],

14.28, 159-1¼8.75, 17-¾/5.20, 195-5/59.56, 4:41.95 [4154]);

5. Pierce LePage (Can) 8445

(10.36, 25-6¾/7.79, 43-4¼/13.21, 6-8¾/2.05, 47.35 [4486–2],

14.19, 135-¼1.19, 17-¾/5.20, 188-5/57.42, 4:45.09 [3959]);

6. Janek Õiglane (Est) 8297

(10.94, 24-¼/7.32, 49-10½/15.20, 6-5/1.96, 49.14 [4189–10],

15.13, 142-¾3.37, 16-4¾/5.00, 237-9/72.46, 4:36.24 [4108]);

7. Pieter Braun (Neth) 8222

(11.16, 24-6¼/7.47, 50-¾/15.26, 6-7½/2.02, 48.79 [4251–9],

14.59, 149-7/45.59, 15-9/4.80, 196-4/59.84, 4:35.62 [3971]);

8. Solomon Simmons (US) 8151

(10.70, 24-2¼/7.37, 50-3½/15.33, 6-5/1.96, 49.31 [4256–8],

14.10, 151-9/46.26, 15-9/4.80, 174-8/53.25, 4:44.17 [3895]);

9. Thomas Van Der Plaetsen (Bel) 8125

(11.38, 23-7½/7.20, 45-2½/13.78, 6-9¾/2.08, 50.89 [4007–19],

14.80, 151-5/46.17, 17-4½/5.30, 208-10/63.67, 4:43.95 [4118]);

10. Tim Nowak (Ger) 8122

(11.12, 23-2½/7.07, 48-2½/14.69, 6-7½/2.02, 49.60 [4090–16],

14.60, 147-8/45.02, 16-¾/4.90, 186-3/56.76, 4:22.18 [4032]);

11. Cedric Dubler (Aus) 8101

(10.75, 23-9½/7.25, 40-9½/12.43, 6-7½/2.02, 48.41 [4135–14],

14.13, 145-4/44.30, 15-5/4.70, 193-8/59.04, 4:34.75 [3966]);

12. Paweł Wiesiołek (Pol) 8064

(10.76, 23-½/7.02, 50-¾/15.26, 6-5/1.96, 49.37 [4150–12],

14.65, 154-10/47.20, 16-¾/4.90, 180-5/55.00, 4:42.06 [3914]);

13. Vitaliy Zhuk (Blr) 8058

(10.95, 21-9/6.63, 49-7¾/15.13, 6-5/1.96, 48.08 [4069–17],

14.49, 153-0/46.64, 15-9/4.80, 192-5/58.66, 4:35.45 [3989);

14. Harrison Williams (US) 7892

(10.76, 23-5¼/7.14, 45-2½/13.78, 6-4/1.93, 47.93 [4130–15],

14.43, 145-¼4.23, 15-9/4.80, 159-5/48.59, 4:40.96 [3762]);

15. Fredrik Samuelsson (Swe) 7860

(11.13, 23-4/7.11, 45-10/13.97, 6-7½/2.02, 50.08 [4032–18],

14.78, 140-¼2.71, 15-9/4.80, 188-3/57.39, 4:39.48 [3828]);

16. Keisuke Ushiro (Jpn) 7545

(11.44, 22-7¾/6.90, 46-11½/14.31, 6-2¾/1.90, 51.42 [3766–20],

15.26, 158-10/48.41, 14-9/4.50, 201-4/61.36, 4:52.12 [3779]);

17. Kai Kazmirek (Ger) 7414

(10.82, 23-10/7.26, 46-11/14.30, 6-8¾/2.05, 47.35 [4315–7],

dq, 147-¼/4.85, 17-¾/5.20, 197-1/60.08, 4:49.16 [3099]);

18. Martin Roe (Nor) 6845

(10.94, 23-10¾/7.28, 49-5¾/15.08, 6-1½/1.87, dnf [3237–22],

15.86, 154-9/47.18, 15-1/4.60, 198-10/60.61, 5:08.91 [3608]);

19. Georni Jaramillo (Ven) 6645

(10.88, 24-6¼/7.47, 50-7¼/15.42, nh, 48.66 [3508-21],

14.19, 144-4/44.00, 14-5¼/4.40, 190-9/58.15, dnf [3137]);

… DNFs—

Kevin Mayer (Fra) 6310

(10.50, 24-9¾/7.56, 55-2¼/16.82, 6-6¼/1.99, 48.99 [4483–3],

13.87, 158-7/48.34, nh, dnc)

Devon Williams (US) 5943

(10.84, 24-1¾/7.36, 45-1¾/13.76, 6-4/1.93, 48.37 [4142–13],

13.91, 155-3/47.32, nh, dnc)

Lindon Victor (Grn) 5345

(10.66, 24-7¾/7.51, 53-3½/16.24, 6-8¾/2.05, 48.55 [4474–4],

14.82, 3f, nh, dnc)

Basile Rolnin (Fra) 769

(11.42, dnc)

Decathlon Leaders By Event

100: 1. Warner 1011; 2. LePage 1008; 3. Mayer 975; 4. Victor 938; 5. Simmons 929; 6. Dubler 917; 7. Wiesiolek & H. Williams 915; 9. Kazmirek 901; 10. D. Williams 897;… 16. Uibo 838;… 20. Kaul 801

Long Jump: 1. LePage 2015; 2. Warner 1988; 3. Mayer 1925; 4. Victor 1875; 5. Simmons 1832; 6. Shkurenyov 1818; 7. Jaramillo 1815; 8. D. Williams 1797; 9. Dubler 1791; 10. Kazmirek 1777;… 12. Uibo 1763;… 19. Kaul 1660

Shot: 1. Mayer 2827; 2. Warner 2788; 3. Victor 2741; 4. LePage 2695; 5. Simmons 2642; 6. Jaramillo 2631; 7. Shkurenyov 2590; 8. Õiglane 2567; 9. Uibo 2560; 10. Braun 2558;… 16. Kaul 2456

High Jump: 1. Mayer 3621; 2. Warner 3610; 3. Victor 3591; 4. LePage 3545; 5. Uibo 3523; 6. Shkurenyov 3496; 7. Simmons 3409; 8. Braun 3380; 9. Kazmirek 3374; 10. Õiglane 3334;… 12. Kaul 3278

400: 1. Warner 4513; 2. LePage 4486; 3. Mayer 4483; 4. Victor 4474; 5. Shkurenyov 4340; 6. Uibo 4317; 7. Kazmirek 4315; 8. Simmons 4256; 9. Braun 4251; 10. Õiglane 4189; 11. Kaul 4164

110 Hurdles: 1. Warner 5545; 2. Mayer 5474; 3. LePage 5436; 4. Victor 5345; 5. Shkurenyov 5279; 6. Uibo 5237; 7. Simmons 5218; 8. Braun 5151; 9. D. Williams 5128; 10. Dubler 5093; 11. Kaul 5058

Discus: 1. Mayer 6310; 2. Warner 6254; 3. LePage 6125; 4. Shkurenyov 6123; 5. Uibo 6038; 6. Simmons 6011; 7. D. Williams 5943; 8. Braun 5930; 9. Kaul 5912; 10. Wiesiolek 5854

Pole Vault: 1. LePage 7097; 2. Shkurenyov 7095; 3. tie, Uibo & Warner 7073; 5. Simmons 6860; 6. Kaul 6822; 7. Braun 6779; 8. Wiesiolek 6734; 9. Van Der Plaetsen 6676; 10. Õiglane 6666

Javelin: 1. Uibo 7869; 2. Warner 7854; 3. Kaul 7850; 4. Shkurenyov 7826; 5. LePage 7796; 6. Õiglane 7593; 7. Braun 7514; 8. Simmons 7497; 9. Van Der Plaetsen 7469; 10. Wiesiolek 7397