Ashton Eaton of the United States essentially wrapped up the heptathlon title during Saturday's early session at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot. The only question is whether he'll break his own indoor world record of 6,645 points. Eaton led all eight competitors in the 60-meter hurdles Saturday, finishing in 7.64 seconds to earn 1,074 points. He tied for second in the pole vault, clearing 5.20 meters (17 feet, ¾ inch) on his third attempt to score 972 points, for a total of 5,699. The heptathlon concludes with the 1,000 meters in the evening session. Eaton needs 947 points to break his record, which translates to a 1,000-meter time of 2:33.54. His personal best is 2:32.67, which would net him 957 points and a new record. Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus is second in the heptathlon standings with 5,450 points while Belgium's Thomas Van Der Plaetsen sits in third with 5,391.
Andriy Protsenko of Ukraine and Russia's Daniil Tsyplakov were both perfect in high jump qualifying, clearing all four heights through 2.28/7-5¾. Event favorite Ivan Ukhov of Russia was also perfect, jumping twice and topping out at 2.25/7-4½. He passed at 2.28 but needed no further jumps when the remaining competitors were eliminated. Other notable qualifiers for Sunday's final include Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and American Erik Kynard.
Andrew Pozzi of Great Britain and Frenchmen Garfield Darien and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde were the leading qualifiers in the men's 60-meter hurdles heats, at 7.56 seconds. Pozzi edged Darien in the fourth heat while Martinot-Lagarde won his heat outright. Other heat winners were American Dominic Berger (7.61) and William Sharman of Great Britain (7.59). The semifinals are this afternoon.
Not surprisingly, event favorite Valerie Adams led all shot put qualifiers with a first-round toss of 20.11/65-11¾. Germany's Christina Schwanitz, Yuliya Leantsiuk of Belarus and American Michelle Carter also beat the automatic qualifying mark of 18.70/61-4¼ ahead of Saturday evening's final.
In the women's 60-meter heats, Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast was the fastest qualifier at 7.09 seconds, but Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was close behind at 7.12. Other heat winners included Great Britain's Asha Philip (7.18), Verena Sailer of Germany (7.13), American Tianna Bartoletta (7.13) and Nigeria's Gloria Asumnu (7.19). The event concludes with the semifinals and the final on Sunday.
As expected, the United States led the six qualifiers in both the men's and women's 4 x 400-meter relay heats. On the men's side, the team of Clayton Parros, Ricky Babineaux, Kind Butler and Calvin Smith won the first heat in 3:04.36. Great Britain won the second heat in 3:06.09. The American women's quartet of Natasha Hastings, Jernail Hayes, Monica Hargrove and Cassandra Tate won its heat in 3:29.06, just ahead of Jamaica at 3:29.43. Great Britain won the opening women's heat. Both finals are set for Sunday.
Marian Oprea of Romania was the only triple jumper to top the automatic qualifying mark of 16.90/55-5¼, leaping 17.02/55-10 on his second try. Other qualifiers for Sunday's final include 2014 world leader Pedro Pichardo of Cuba and American Chris Carter.
Serbia's Ivana Spanovic led the women's long jump qualifiers with a leap measuring 6.77/22-2½. Darya Klishina of Russia was the only other jumper to beat the automatic qualifying distance of 6.70/21-11¾. Other qualifiers for Sunday's final include Shara Proctor of Great Britain and Tori Polk of the United States.