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ISTANBUL: American Ashton Eaton stormed to a new world record in the heptathlon after dominating the gruelling two-day event at the World Indoor Athletics Championships here yesterday.
Eaton, 24, racked up 6,645 points from the seven disciplines at the Atakoy Arena to better his own previous record of 6,568 points set at the Tallinn international indoor event in February last year.
The 24-year-old had set his first world record of 6,499 points at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Arkansas in March 2010, shattering the previous best of 6,476 set by compatriot Dan O’Brien at Toronto in 1993.
“It feels good,” said the Oregon-based Eaton. “Coming into the competition, I knew I could break the world record.
“The competition was solid, everything was good and I didn’t have a bad event.
“It’s a good beginning to the season and I will now be preparing for the Olympic trials, which are very competitive in the United States.”
With Eaton’s team-mate Bryan Clay - defending champion and reigning Olympic decathlon champ, absent from Istanbul - Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov took silver yesterday with 6,071 points and Russian Artem Lukyanenko claimed bronze (5,969).
In Friday’s events, Eaton timed 6.79sec in the 100m, jumped a personal best of 8.16m in the long jump, managed a best of 14.56m in the shot put and cleared 2.03m in the high jump.
The American opened yesterday’s action with a fantastic 7.68sec in the 60m hurdles, a time that would have seen him rank sixth out of the 16 hurdlers progressing to the semi-finals of that discipline raced earlier in the morning session.
Eaton went on to clear 5.20m in the pole vault and made it around the final event, the 1000m, in 2:32.77, almost 7sec under the time needed to ensure he bettered his record.
Ukraine’s Kasyanov expressed his satisfaction at finally nailing a medal on the world stage.
“I’ve been ready for a world medal for a couple of years but at every competition something has gone wrong,” he said.
“Even this time the competition didn’t go that well for me. I didn’t have the big results but the total was just enough for me to claim silver.”
Lukyanenko admitted that he had given everything in the final, sapping 1000m to ensure he got the bronze.
“I achieved a new personal best,” the Russian said. “This is the most important competition of my life. I’m very young and this medal is psychologically important for me and my career.
“It will give me a lot of motivation and confidence for the Olympics.”
Meanwhile, defending champion Dwain Chambers of Britain and American Justin Gatlin both advanced to the men’s 60m final at the World Indoor Championships here yesterday.
Gatlin, the 2004 Athens Olympic 100m champion who served a four-year ban for doping, looked in imperious form when winning his semi-final in 6.50sec, the joint fifth fastest time of the season. Agencies