World Record Pentathlon Score For Thiam

A 5055-point total by Nafi Thiam added 42 to the 11-year-old World Record. (GIANCARLO COLOMBO)

İSTANBUL, TURKEY, March 03 — With American Anna Hall having scared the pentathlon WR 15 days earlier at the U.S. Champs, the 5-event multi at the European Indoor took on the cast of a possible record comp from its beginning. At its conclusion, this pent saw the World Record fall twice.

Adrianna Sułek of Poland crossed the line in the 800 (2:07.17 PR by 0.01) having added a point to the record 5013 tally set by Ukraine’s Nataliya Dobrynska at the ’12 World Indoor Championships, also in Ataköy Arena.

Just 6.43 seconds later, however, Nafi Thiam, Belgium’s defending Euro titlist, finished her 4 laps in 2:13.60, equaling her indoor fastest, to total a new World Record score of 5055.

“Almost a World Record,” Sułek tweeted. For a few seconds I could feel like the best performer in the history of the world… I’m crying, will it pass? 5014 European Championships silver.”

Sułek had achieved indoor PRs in all 5 disciplines, the HJ an equal-best. Thiam notched undercover bests in two and equaled her best in a third.

60 Hurdles
Sułek came out of the opening barrier race tied for the lead (1077) with Thiam teammate Noor Vidts, each clocked in 8.21. That was an 0.13 PR for the Pole and 0.06 slower than Vidts hurdled in her World Indoor gold pent last year.

Just behind at 8.23 equaling her PR, double Olympic hept gold medalist Thiam showed no evidence of rust in her first multi since her busy double gold Worlds and Euros summer of ’22. Though Thiam was 5 points back of the leaders, all were well up on Dobrynska’s 1044.

High Jump
With a 6-7½ (2.02) PR jumped in a hep, Thiam, if sharp, was expected to excel here along with Sułek, whose 6-3½ (1.92) best came when she won Götzis last year. So it went. With clean slates up to 6-3½, Thiam went over that bar on her third try as Sułek missed thrice. With Thiam at 2209 and Sułek 2175, Vidts’ 2098 also led Dobrynska’s 2073 at this stage — although all were behind Hall’s 2-event figure of 2239 in Albuquerque.

Dobrynska, the ’08 Olympic hept champ, was a gifted putter and had reached 54-2 (16.51) and an en route figure of 3035 in her WR pent. Thiam, though, hit 51-0 (15.54) on her last put, a 5¼-inch improvement of her lifetime best that put her at 3106 after 3 events: 86 ahead of Hall’s pace and 144 up on Sułek (45-7/13.89 ) with Vidts (46-4/14.12) another 62 back.

Long Jump
As Vidts came up short of her 21-8 (6.60) best set during her World Indoor win, Sułek, flew longer than that on her third (21-8¾/ 6.62). Thiam, Belgium’s LJ record holder, responded with a more than serviceable 21-7½ (6.59). Thiam had racked up 4142 points through four events, 77 up on Dobrynska. Sułek’s 1046 haul from the LJ put her at 4008 and Noor had 3923.

What would the two leaders need to eclipse Dobrynska, who ran 2:11:15 for her record in Istanbul? Thiam, having run her 2:13.00 PR at the Worlds in Eugene, required 2:20.14 for a record. Sułek, with her 2:07.18 best also having come in Eugene, needed to be right there, 2:07.23 or faster.

Done and done, though Sułek surely knew her Belgian rival was coming in for the kill. By 41 points as it turned out, Thiam flogging herself through a 69.16 second half that surely hurt.

“Coming here, I felt very confident; I have done a lot of good work and, of course, the record was in my mind,” Thiam admitted. “But you need a good competition, to feel good and to perform well. It is good information for me that I managed to show this result despite the fact that not all events were perfect today. The jumps — the long jump, high jump — could have been better. So I can still build on this.”

(Note: Even though Sułek briefly claimed the highest score ever, she’s unlikely to get official WR recognition. In past instances like this — like the ’80 Olympic pentathlon — WA has ignored these short leaderships.)


1. Nafissatou Thiam (Bel) 5055 WR (old WR 5014 Sułek 6.43 seconds earlier) (8.23, 6-3½/1.92, 51-0/15.54, 21-7½/6.59, 2:13.60);

2. Adrianna Sułek (Pol) 5014 NR (WR at time: old WR 5013 Nataliya Dobrynska [Ukr] ’12) (8.21, 6-2¼/1.89, 45-7/13.89, 21-8¾/6.62, 2:07.17);

3. Noor Vidts (Bel) 4823 (8.21, 6-0/1.83, 46-4/14.12, 21-6/6.55, 2:14.52);

4. Sofie Dokter (Neth) 4499; 5. Xénia Krizsán (Hun) 4493; 6. Holly Mills (GB) 4451; 7. Saga Vanninen (Fin) 4440; 8. Sveva Gerevini (Ita) 4363;

… dnf—Léonie Cambours (Fra).

(best-ever mark-for-place: 1–3)