American goes No.5 on world all-time rankings as KJT finishes runner-up and Pierce LePage wins decathlon at annual Hypo-Meeting
Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s heptathlon world record of 7291 has stood the test of time. The multiple global champion in combined events and long jump set her long-standing mark when winning gold at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
Since then only three heptathletes have broken the 7000 points barrier – Carolina Klüft of Sweden with 7032, Nafi Thiam of Belgium with 7013 and Larisa Nikitina of the Soviet Union with 7007 in 1989.
At the latest Hypo-Meeting in Götzis on Saturday and Sunday (May 27-28), though, Anna Hall almost joined this exclusive club with a big score of 6988 to win the annual combined events extravaganza in style.
Behind, runner-up Katarina Johnson-Thompson of Britain posted her best score since winning the world title in Doha in 2019 with 6556 as Adrianna Sulek of Poland was third with 6480 and Saga Vanninen, the world under-20 champion from Finland, fourth with 6391.
Hall dominated from the start with a brilliant 12.75 PB in the 100m hurdles. She followed this with a 1.92m high jump PB, 13.90m in the shot put and then a blistering 22.88 PB in the 200m to end Saturday with a day one score of 4172 that only Joyner-Kersee has beaten.
Johnson-Thompson, meanwhile, clocked a disappointing but not disastrous 13.88 in the sprint hurdles followed by 1.89m high jump, 13.92m PB in the shot and 23.26 in the 200m.
Hall’s second day began with a 6.54m long jump PB, 43.08m javelin, while Johnson-Thompson jumped 6.32m and threw 44.14m with the 22-year-old from America requiring 2:02.22 to break the 7000-point barrier.
Hall meant business, too, as she blasted straight into the lead and went through the bell well clear of her rivals in 58.5. Beginning to tire, she passed 600m in 1:30 before coming home in another PB of 2:02.97 as Johnson-Thompson clocked 2:12.40 in second.
Fellow Brit Jade O’Dowda, meanwhile, ran 2:11.90 to win her heat as she scored a PB of 6255 points in 10th.
“I’m really happy with where I’m at in training as I had no idea I could score this high,” said Hall. “I’m excited to get back to work, to clean things up and get ready for worlds.
“The crowd was amazing as I could feel I was hitting the wall (in the 800m). I’m only 22 and have a long time to chase big scores. I’m progressing and I guess things are improving quicker than I thought.”
Hall grew up in a sports-mad family in Denver, Colorado, and competed for Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators at university before going professional with adidas last year after winning bronze at the World Champs in Eugene.
Her progress has been steady and impressive although she suffered a big set back in 2021 when falling in the sprint hurdles at the US trials, breaking a bone in her foot and having a metal screw fitted into it.
Her breakthrough performance in Götzis also comes a few weeks after she made an exasperated attack on internet trolls who have criticised her physique.
“This is my public service request,” she tearfully said during a Tik-Tok video. “Stop telling female athletes they look like men. Literally, stop it—it is so mean.”
On winning major titles in future, she added: “I’m gonna look strong if I wanna do that.
“Just stop it. It’s so hurtful for no reason. Like why would you take the time out of your day to say that? Like just scroll. Just scroll.”
Hall’s plan now is to do a few races in Europe, including 400m hurdles at the Florence Diamond League, before returning home for the US Championships and then getting ready for the World Championships in Budapest where she will again face Johnson-Thompson plus Olympic and world champion Thiam, who was not here in Götzis.
The decathlon was won in Götzis by a Canadian but not the one who was expected to triumph. All eyes were on favourite Damian Warner but he scored 8619 to finish runner-up to fellow countryman Pierce LePage, who scored 8700.
“Shout out to Damian,” said LePage, who won silver behind Warner at the World Champs last year. “He definitely pushed me the entire way. He’s the king of Götzis. Just because I won once, he’s still the king.”
“The better man won today,” said Warner, who was trying to win his eighth Hypo-Meeting title in the Austrian town.
» Subscribe to AW magazine here