Backpack is getting heavier – sport

World decathlon champion Niklas Cowell stood on Sunday afternoon next to the pole vault facility at Ratingen Arena near Dusseldorf. From third to last, things were starting to get serious for the overall standings. But the 24-year-old did not have a stick in his hands, nor was he even wearing tracksuits.

A year ago he completed his last decathlon so far

Cowell, who wanted to break the rule at both the world championships in July in the US and the European Championships in August in Munich at the traditional all-around meeting, had halted the decathlon the night before due to a compressed nerve in his neck. What will happen to his start in the two important competitions? Well, for the World Cup (base: 8350 points), as the holder of the champion, he will get a wild card from his union if necessary, and for the European Championships (standard: 8100) he can use those 8,263 points he earned for a year. In Götzis / Austria – but it is enough for him only if three German players are not better than him this year with at least 8100 points.

With so many things unattainable and Kaul totally in need of a full-fledged competition, he decided, contrary to his original plan for the season, to compete at Götzis at the end of May. “Above all else, Niklas needs to feel accomplished again,” says national multi-fighter coach Frank Muller. “He needs a full deca again.”

Not much has come together since Cowell became the youngest world decathlon champion in Doha on October 3, 2019 at the age of 21. This is because of Corona as well as because of his body. After the 2020 season was called off, he underwent elbow surgery. In May 2021 he completed his last full decathlon at Gotzis. Since then, he has tried three times in the full decathlon – and had to withdraw three times: 1) in June 2021 in Ratingen, where he stopped after eight majors as a precaution not to jeopardize the Olympics; 2) in Tokyo in August 2021, where he fractured an ankle in the high jump and had to walk out of the stadium in a wheelchair, and 3) in Ratingen on Saturday, where he injured the nerves in his neck in the 100th – sprint at the start and felt pain during High jump it no longer makes sense. In the 400-meter sprint, he cut straight. Perhaps he was afraid of jeopardizing the season.

Cowell’s biggest wish: “I just want to exercise again and enjoy it.”

Saturday’s injury-related Cowell performance lacked any foundation: 11.42 seconds over 100 meters (25th slowest), 7.03 meters wide (33 centimeters less than best), 13.73 meters with the ball (1.46 meters lower) and 1.95 meters high ( 16 cm less). “It just doesn’t make sense anymore,” he apologized to the stadium’s speakers in front of the 2,000 or so disappointed spectators on Sunday. They wished to see the world champion continue. “But to continue the competition would be irresponsible,” said national multi-sport coach Muller.

National team coach Annette Stein sees Cole now going through an important stage in his career. “Now we’ll see if he can pull off the backpack,” she says of the burden of this world title, which Cowell won dramatically two-and-a-half years ago with a personal best of 8691 at just 21. However, Cowell himself would like to find a way out of a dilemma in a much simpler fashion: “I just want to exercise again and enjoy it,” he said on Sunday. Together with defending champion Kai Kazmiric, who also pulled out of Ratingen, he will now try at Gotzes in three weeks’ time.

Swiss Simon Emmer won the decathlon with 8,354 points. In second place, Tim Novak from Ulm was the only German to achieve the European Championship standard with 8,160 points. Sophie Weisenberg from Leverkusen won the heptathlon with 6,273 points, ahead of Caroline Schaefer from Frankfurt with 6,170 points. Both are allowed to start at least in the European Championships in Munich.

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