Let’s pick up where we left off earlier and move into the multi-events which carry special interest and promise many exciting and fascinating moments along the way, featuring two dazzling stars in Ashton Eaton and Jessica Ennis who appear as overwhelming favourites to claim the respective titles in the decathlon and heptathlon all things equal.

Decathlon

Who can really stop fearsome Ashton Eaton in the decathlon, which starts in only a few hours from now as a matter of fact? The new American multi-sensation is not only highly talented and widely acknowledged beyond any doubt but looks also as though improving with every passing day at an amazing rate, setting PBs with the same fluency and ease that Wayne Rooney scores for United in the Premiership. On top of that, he is also pushing his boundaries evenly all round and looks bound to provide human shape to the concept of the ‘perfect decathlete’, showing already hardly any weakness across disciplines.

Ashton Eaton during his decathlon PB of 8729pts at the US Trials

A first look at the world rankings of the season will show Eaton leading on a PB of 8729pts at the US Trials and defending champion Trey Hardee following closely on 8689pts set at Gotzis, a narrow gap of a mere 40pts suggesting that a grand battle is about to commence. But it’s not exactly that way as the effective distance between the two is considerably wider. Since then, Eaton has improved from 10.33 to 10.26 secs over 100m (1.5m/sec), cleared 2.10m from 2.05m in the high jump and shattered his discus marker by well over 3m to 47.36m, all at Chula Vista 13 days ago, and shows on fire. As things look, he could be well on the way to a score near 9000pts provided he evades any serious mistake.

At the same meet, Hardee could only muster a SB of 49.34m in the discus and his track performances brought up questions over his readiness just two weeks out from the crunch. But he is an experienced top athlete that knows his way well round the decathlon and therefore he should hold his ground firmly for a convincing runner-up as a challenge on Eaton looks rather unlikely.

Cuban Leonel Souarez (8440pts), the man who earned silver behind Hardee in Berlin, recommends the safest bet for bronze and might be troubled only by compatriot Yordani Garcia (8.397pts).

Prediction: 1.Aston Eaton, 2.Trey Hardee, 3.Leonel Souarez

Heptathlon

Likewise, Jessica Ennis commands an authority on the heptathlon like very few could boast through the history of the event, unbeaten since forced to pull out of Gotzis with a foot injury in 2008. Once that nightmare was over, she never looked back and moved on to collect the global crown in emphatic fashion in Berlin, the world indoor gold in Doha and the European title in Barcelona, ever improving all round en route. Further, missing a considerable spell sidelined through injury at the end of the winter hardly affected her prowess as she saw off Tatiana Chernova, maybe her closest rival for many, with relative ease at Gotzis off only a few weeks training to further reinforce her place and rule at the very top of multievent global order.

Jessica Ennis wraps up heptathlon gold in Berlin 2009

Since then, she has hauled in her best form in the long jump with 6.44m (-0.1m/sec) in Birmingham and scorched to a superb PB of 12.79 secs over 100m hurdles at Loughborough (1.5m/sec) so she is heading into the defence of her title fully and heavily armed and her confidence sky high. Nonetheless, apart from her undisputed talent all over the park where she is really nearly impossible to defeat is her mentality. She never knows when she is defeated as she never gets affected by any slip-up or turn of situation around on the way – she’s going to bounce back in supreme fashion in the very next discipline!

She is fiercesome competitor who gets fired up when she is feeling the others breathing around her, the clang of the spikes on the track and the tension soaring up. You can’t defeat her simply because she is going to take something special to beat and even if that happens she is going to come up with something better still.

On the other hand, Chernova looks to thrive when the pressure is off and feels no real threat around her, having yet to prove herself on the big stage where she is usually seen to fall well behind from the off and desperately chasing all along to salvage something at the end. Suffice to say that she never really got within striking distance of a not 100% ready Ennis at Gotzis and went on to score a PB of 6773pts at Kladno only a fortnight later. Her main strengths lie particularly in the second day but the big question is how far behind she is going to lie overnight. And if it comes to a neck-and-neck struggle, will she have the nerve and reserves of mental strength to cope with the pressure?

Olympic champion Natalya Dobrinska has been a shadow of herself and goes into the competition as a totally unknown quantity while Jennifer Oesser, slighly off her PB on 6663pts, is a consistent performer who can always pick a trail to the podium and could upset both to silver. As a matter of fact, the German has medalled in both Berlin and Barcelona to demonstrate substantial championships credentials. Hyleas Fountain (USA) is going to be there too but has hardly displayed any sort of form that could trouble Ennis so far.

Poland’s Karolina Tyminska has moved up by a chunk to a huge PB of 6516pts and could harbour hopes of sneaking some medal if some big name or two falter badly on the way, as should new-kid-on-the-block Aiga Grabuste from Estonia with a PB of 6507pts this season.

Commonwealth champion Louise Hazell relishes rising to the challenge of the heptathlon and totalled a narrow PB of 6166pts at Ratingen, especially when hardly anything in her run-up suggested something of the like, and will be aiming to work her way nearer the top eight and hopefully over 6200pts.

Prediction: 1.Jessica Ennis, 2.Jennifer Oesser, 3.Tatiana Chernova

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