Updated: Saturday, 08 March 2014 21:29 | By Agence France-Presse

Ashton Eaton primed to better his heptathlon world record

American combined events king Ashton Eaton remained on course to break his own world heptathlon record at the World Indoor Championships on Saturday.


Ashton Eaton primed to better his heptathlon world record

Ashton Eaton competes in the Men's Heptathlon Pole Vault at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in the Ergo Arena in the Polish coastal town of Sopot, on March 8, 2014 - by Johannes Eisele

Day two of the three-day competition also saw Jamaican sprint legend Veronica Campbell-Brown take to the blue running track at Sopot's Ergo Arena after a 10-month lay-off following a botched doping case.

While Campbell-Brown and teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce both qualified without difficulty for Sunday's 60m semi-finals, it was Eaton who stole the show in the Polish Baltic Sea resort.

Eaton, whose Canadian wife Brianne Thiesen Eaton won silver in the women's pentathlon on Friday, started Saturday as the leader in the seven-discipline event on 3,653 pts.

Having already clocked a personal best of 6.66sec in the 60m, long jumped 7.78m, managed 14.88m in the shot put, and gone 2.06 in the high jump, Eaton then timed 7.64sec in the 60m hurdles before nailing 5.20m in the pole vault.

Only the long jump didn't match up to his best efforts in setting the world record at the previous world indoors in Istanbul.

The 26-year-old, also the current world and Olympic decathlon champion and world record holder, now has to run 2min 33.54sec or better in the final event, the 1,000m, to set a new world heptathlon record for the fourth time, having run 2:32.77 two years ago.

"The crowd's been pushing us, it's awesome," said Eaton, who now has 5,699pts, with Belarus' Andrei Krauchanka in second spot on 5,450.

Campbell-Brown, bidding for a third consecutive 60m title after victories in Istanbul and Doha in 2010, insisted she had "nothing to prove" after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld her appeal against a two-year doping ban for testing positive for a banned diuretic, hydrochlorothiazide, last May.

The 31-year-old, a two-time Olympic 200m gold medallist who has accrued five other Olympic medals and nine world outdoor medals, contested, however, that IAAF rules had not been respected in her case and "had compromised the integrity of the urine sample she gave", arguing that there was no proof that she had violated anti-doping laws.

"I have nothing to prove, I'm just doing what I love," the 31-year-old said after claiming her 60m heat's third automatic qualifying spot in a season's best 7.22sec behind American winner Tianna Bartoletta and Norway's Ezinne Okparaebo.

"I'm happy, I'm looking forward to the semi-finals tomorrow.

"I've got to be confident, why would I be here running? The objective is to be confident and just do my best.

"You know when you don't compete for a while, you're going to feel a bit rusty," said Campbell-Brown, who has won a total of seven Olympic and nine world medals.

Fraser-Pryce, who emulated Usain Bolt in winning triple sprint gold at last summer's world outdoors in Moscow, breezed through her heat in 7.12sec to also progress to Sunday's semi-finals, slated for 1415 GMT, with the final to be run at 1705 GMT.

"I am happy with my race. I did what I had to do to qualify," she said.

Joining the Jamaican duo, Bartoletta and Okparaebo on Sunday will be Ivory Coast's two-time world outdoor sprint silver medallist Murielle Ahoure, who set a leading 7.09sec, Germany's Verena Sailer and Britain's Asha Philip.

New Zealand's Valerie Adams remains hot favourite to retain her women's shot put title after dominating qualification for the final later Saturday with a best of 20.11m.

Adams is one of the unsung field heroines, completely untouchable in outdoor competition, having won golds in the Beijing and London Olympics, and also picked up four consecutive world and two Commonwealth Games titles.

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