Heptathlon world record could be in Eaton's plans

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 17, 2016 9:03 PM

By Gene Cherry

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - A third consecutive world indoor heptathlon title may not be the only goal Ashton Eaton has in mind at this week's IAAF world championships.

Fans in Oregon have been talking for weeks about another world record by the native son in the Portland meeting.

Eaton, who three times has set heptathlon world records and has two outdoor decathlon world records, has been non-committal this winter about improving his 2012 heptathlon record.

But at the opening news conference for the global championships on Thursday, the Oregon native made it clear he would be going all out this week.

"I hold myself to high standards," Eaton said. "Every time I go into a competition the general idea I have is I am going to PB (personal best)."

After what he considered a sub-par performance in two individual events at last weekend's U.S. championships, "I got really fired up," the Olympic and two-time world decathlon champion said.

A freakish injury that left him with six stitches in his head after a pole vault crossbar fell on him will not deter Eaton from a strong performance in competition on Friday and Saturday, his coach said.

Eaton set his current heptathlon world record of 6,645 points at the 2012 world championships in Istanbul.

"I love the sport of track and field," he said, "but from my first indoor competition, I kind of liked indoor a little bit more than outdoor.

"Indoors is just a lot easier. There are seven events in the heptathlon. No 400 metres, no 1,500. I have energy for days in this event and it is more my body type, speed and power."

The intimate atmosphere of indoor competition also is enjoyable, Eaton said.

And on Friday, fans will have an opportunity to watch Eaton and his wife, Canadian pentathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton, up close in the 7,000-seat Oregon Convention Center facility.

"Brianne and I are going to be on the track at the same time about 10 feet apart," Eaton said. "I'll be long jumping and she will be high jumping."

It could be the start of a historic weekend. No couple has ever won both multi-events at the same world indoor championships.

The Eatons are big favorites to change that.

(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)