The World Indoor Championships began in Sopot, Poland this morning and American Ashton Eaton is where he was expected to be, comfortably on top of the heptathlon standings. Eaton led all eight competitors in both the 60 meters (a personal best 6.66 seconds) and the long jump (7.78 meters - 25 feet 6¼ inches) to finish the morning session with 2,012 points, which is 48 behind his world-record pace of 2012. Ukraine's Oleksiy Kasyanov is second overall at 1,870, followed by Canada's Damian Warner at 1,861.
Nadine Broersen of the Netherlands has opened a 116-point cushion after three events of the pentathlon. She was third overall in the 60-meter hurdles with a personal best 8.32 seconds, then topped all competitors with a national record 1.93/6-4 in the high jump. She finished her morning by placing fourth in the shot put and stands with 3,035 points. Sharon Day-Monroe of the United States is second overall at 2,919 while Canada's Brianne Theisen-Eaton is third at 2,914. The pentathlon concludes with the long jump and 800-meter run later today. Broersen is not strong in those events, so the gold medal remains up for grabs.
In preliminary competition, seven women qualified for Saturday's high jump final by clearing 1.95/6-4¾, with only Spain's Ruth Beitia doing so without a miss. Two more women, including two-time champion Blanka Vlasic, qualified at 1.92/6-3½.
Nigeria's Regina George led the women's 400-meter qualifiers with a season-best 51.60. Two Americans - Francena McCorory and Joanna Atkins - plus Jamaicans Kaliese Spencer and Patricia Hall, are among the qualifiers for Saturday's semifinals. On the men's side, Chris Brown of the Bahamas led qualifiers for tomorrow's 400-meter semis with a season-best time of 45.84. As in the women's event, two Americans (David Verburg and Kyle Clemons) and a pair of Jamaicans (Akheem Gauntlett and Edino Steele) advanced to the semifinals.
Three shot-putters topped the automatic qualifying mark of 20.70/67-11 to reach Friday night's final. Germany's David Storl took three attempts to reach 21.24/69-8, American Ryan Whiting needed just one try to throw 20.75/68-1 and German Lauro of Argentina reached 20.73/68-0 on his second try. Other qualifiers include home-nation favorite Tomasz Majewski. Non-qualifiers include American Kurt Roberts.
Favorites Olha Saladuha of Ukraine and Ekaterina Koneva of Russia advanced to Saturday's triple jump final, although Jamaica's Kimberly Williams led all jumpers by leaping a season-best 14.35/47-1 on her first try.
In the women's 3000, Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain (8:53.07) and Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba (8:57.86) won their heats to move on to Sunday's final. Other qualifiers include American Shannon Rowbury and Kenya's Hellen Obiri.
Aman Wote of Ethiopia won the third and fastest heat in the men's 1500, finishing in 3:36.75. All three non-automatic qualifiers came from the heat, including American Will Leer. Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti edged New Zealand's Nick Willis in the second heat while Homiyu Tesfaye of Germany won the first heat. Non-qualifiers include Lopez Lamong of the U.S., Mekonnen Gebremedhin of Ethiopia and Kenya's Silas Kiplagat.
Two Polish runners thrilled the home crowd by leading the way in the men's and women's 800-meter heats. Poland's Angelika Cichocka ran a world-leading 2:00.37 to lead all qualifiers in the women's 800. Natalia Lupu of the Ukraine and Switzerland's Selina Buchel won the other heats to reach Sunday's final. American Chanelle Price qualified for the final but Ajee Wilson did not. Adam Kszczot was the men's leader at 1:45.76. Ethiopia's Mohammed Aman and Andre Olivier of South Africa won the other heats. A second Pole, Marcin Lewandowski, qualified for the final but Americans Nick Symmonds and Erik Sowinski did not.