Estonia's three decathletes were out of the medals in Tokyo Thursday, meaning the country's tally from the whole games will remain at two. Johannes Erm placed highest of the three in eleventh place after smashing his personal best in the javelin and finishing first out of the Estonians in the 1,500 meters, Maicel Uibo finished fifteenth and Karel Tilga in third place.
Erm picked up 8,213 at the end of the 10 events, Uibo, whose wife Shaunae Miller-Uibo is in the 400 meters' final Friday, having been out of the medals in the 200 meters' final, took 8,037; after scoring zero in the pole vault, Tilga took 7,018.
Karel Tilga was battling to finish the decathlon after sustaining a hamstring injury on Wednesday.
After a pause in proceedings Thursday morning, Estonian time, which saw Uibo the first-placed Estonian, just ahead of Johannes Erm, the final two disciplines, the javelin and the 1,500 meters, started just after 1 p.m., again Estonian time, and saw Erm overtake Uibo the event's end.
Erm was best in the final discipline of the event, putting in a 4.28.42 time which was also a personal best. Tilga posted 4.38.24 and Uibo, 4.38.64. American Steven Bastien was fastest, with a time of 4.26.95.
Karel Tilga, after picking up no points in the pole vault, was strongest in this event, with 73.36 m, a personal best, on his third throw. He was no slouch on his first and second throws either, at 71.71 m and 72.58 m respectively. Prior to Thursday his PB had stood at 69.25 m.
Erm and Uibo failed to surpass their respective personal bests, with 58.41 m and 50.64 m respectively. An elbow injury confined Uibo to just the one throw.
Canada's Damian Warner took Gold with 9,018 points, Kevin Mayer (France), silver (8,726 points) and Ashely Moloney the bronze (8,649 points).
After a largely disappointing day up until this point for the three Estonian decathletes earlier in the day, the lone bright spot Johannes Erm started the second day with a solid result in the 110 m hurdles, finishing with a time of 14.55. Maicel Uibo finished at 14.43, well behind his personal best decathlon schedule and Karel Tilga carefully finished with a time of 16.10, battling a hamstring injury.
Uibo put up the best result out of the Estonians in the discus throw, sending the disc out to a result of 46.38. Erm finished with a result of 45.72, more than two meters ahead of his overall personal best schedule. Karel Tilga put up 41.31 and was obviously holding back in an effort to not aggravate his hamstring.
Uibo put on an impressive performance in the pole vault, to say the least. The Estonian set a new personal best in the discipline, vaulting 5.50 with some room to spare. After the eighth decathlon discipline, the former world silver medalist also vaulted from 19th overall to 12th with 6,750 points.
Uibo said he is happy to have one discipline go right at the Tokyo Olympics. "At least I got one record from this competition. The wind was spinning some in the practice runs. If there was headwind, it seemed rather strong in the run-up, but if there was no wind or it was slightly from behind, it felt pretty comfortable," the decathlete said, adding that he also has new poles.
"I lacked explosiveness in the hurdles. It was not the worst run, but I just do not have the gunpowder currently. I am not too excited about 46.38 in the discus, but there were a few technical nuances and I did not have more in me," Uibo noted, adding that he took a quick nap before the pole vault and will certainly take one before the javelin throw.
Wednesday, August 4
After the first five events (100 m, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 m) of the decathlon, Johannes Erm was the highest-ranked Estonian at 14th with 4,208 points. Maicel Uibo finished the opening day 18th with 4018 points and Karel Tilga was 22nd with 3,973 points after struggling with a hamstring injury.
The 100 m run started the decathlon with the Estonians seemingly falling to the hot Tokyo day. Johannes Erm was fastest among Estonians with a time of 11.04 seconds, Karel Tilga and Maicel Uibo finished with 11.31 and 11.32, respectively.
Maicel Uibo had the furthest long jump among Estonians, scoring a result of 7.37. Erm was right behind him, jumping 7.36 and Karel Tilga's hamstring became bothersome, only allowing the Estonian to hit a result of 6.77.
The injured Tilga bounced back some in the shot put, finishing with a result of 15.25 after fouling off his final attempt, which would have improved his result. Erm had a solid throw of 14.60, Uibo finished with a result of 13.95.
2019 world silver Maicel Uibo did not improve his day much in the long jump, either, finishing with a result of 2.02. His personal best mark is at 2.18. Karel Tilga also finished the discipline with a result of 2.02. Johannes Erm finished the long jump with a result of 1.99.
Erm was the fastest Estonian in the 400 m, finishing with a time of 48.25, Tilga finished at 50.48 and Uibo finished at 50.82.
The best decathlete overall in the opening day was explosive Canadian Damian Warner at 4,722 points, followed by Australian Ashley Moloney with 4,641 points and fellow Canadian Pierce Lepage at 4,529 points. World record holder Kevin Mayer inserted himself into the podium discussion after a slow start and is currently fifth with 4,340 points.
The leading Estonian Erm said the heat in Tokyo has caused everyone to drop points. "They said at the start of the day that it was going to be the hottest day of the year in Tokyo, that did not give us much confidence," Erm said, adding that his foot injury in February has caused some issues with mobility.
Tilga said he hopes to finish the decathlon regardless of his bothersome hamstring. "I knew going into the 100 m start that nothing good was going to come out of it. But I still had to start. There really was not anything good there. The hamstring does not allow me to sprint and jump at 100 percent. I have to take it one discipline at a time," the decathlete said.
2019 world silver Maicel Uibo said that while his decathlon did not get off to a hot start, he will not look at points before the final event. "I will not calculate points until the 1,500 m run. I will then see what I need to run for what score, I will not look at points before that," Uibo said.
He added that a few technical mishaps and injuries are part of the sport and those can lead to disappointing results. "No point to being sad, you have to enjoy competing even if the results are not exactly what you are hoping for," Uibo noted.
This article was successively updated as the event results came in.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste, Andrew Whyte