With an acclaimed decathlon show, the German record holder Leo Neugebauer set his course for gold.
The 23-year-old will be the leader at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Saturday, when the medal decision in the supreme discipline will be made. "My voice isn't there as much because I've been screaming so much," said Neugebauer, who is ahead of Canadians Pierce Lepage and Damian Warner. "The first day was a lot of fun."
Foot problems force Kaul to give up
The emotional state of 2019 world champion and European champion Niklaus Kaul could hardly have been more different. The 25-year-old ended the decathlon prematurely in 15th place after four disciplines. First hip problems slowed him down, then he was treated for foot pain. At the Olympics in Tokyo two years ago, Kaul was over on the first day due to foot problems. Visibly struck, he left the interior.
The stage in the stadium belonged primarily to "Leo The German" Neugebauer. After five disciplines with 4640 points, he is still 49 points ahead of his German record at the beginning of June. He improved Jürgen Hingsen's national record of almost four decades to 8836 points, which is also documented by the T-shirts of his personal fans. "My family and friends can finally watch because I've had most of the competitions in America," said Neugebauer, who studies in Texas. "They have fun, I have fun - just great."
Weber: "Dude, Leo is leaving"
Neugebauer, who quickly became the darling of the public, repeatedly started cheering runs. "Dude, Leo is going crazy," marveled European javelin champion Julian Weber, who certainly qualified for the final on Sunday. Neugebauer and Weber are the biggest medal trumps of the German Athletics Association, which is still without a medal a year after Eugene's great disappointment at the World Championships in Budapest.
At his World Championship premiere, Manuel Eitel occupied twelfth place in the decathlon with 4296 points. World record holder Kevin Mayer no longer has a chance of winning a medal. The Frenchman pulled out due to Achilles tendon problems.
Men's sprint relay loses baton
The men's sprint relay over 4x100 meters after the heats is also no longer there. Joshua Hartmann, who started too late, also lost the baton. He "took sole responsibility". The women's quartet around Gina Lückenkemper missed 13 hundredths of a second, but after a protest because of disability they were still allowed to go to the final. "It wasn't an easy season. We had to complain about a lot of failures," said two-time European champion Lückenkemper.
At last year's World Championships, the women's relay team, which was weaker this year, won bronze. It was the only medal besides gold from the missing long jump Olympic champion Malaika Mihambo, who was injured this time. Now Neugebauer, who fulfilled the fans' requests for countless selfies between the disciplines, has the best chance of ensuring the German gold moment.
"Super-happy" made him break the 8-meter mark in the long jump. The 2022 World Cup tenth found the ball width of 17.04 meters "fantastic". After these two personal bests, he stayed close to his previous top performances in the high jump and the 100 meters at the start. In 47.99 seconds over 400 meters, he was clearly ahead of the best time, but then waved his thanks to the audience.
Weber, hoping for a medal, started less well in the javelin throw. In qualifying, the 28-year-old was fourth with 82.39 meters. "I'm not the morning person. I much prefer to throw in the evening, that's when I really get going," he promised for the showdown on Sunday. In addition, Weber's spears have not yet arrived in Budapest. He doesn't know where they went to.