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Thiam seeks more after history’s greatest pentathlon

A stunning world indoor pentathlon record of 5055 points* by Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam highlighted a captivating night at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul on Friday (3), but this was no solo display of supremacy.

Thiam was pushed to the dying moments by Poland’s Adrianna Sulek, whose tally of 5014 also surpassed the previous world record of 5013, set in the same Atakoy Arena in 2012 by Ukraine’s Nataliya Dobrynska.

And the most exciting part? They both feel like they have more to give.

After a strong morning of action, Thiam had a lead of 144 points going into the evening session. She kept Sulek at arm’s length with her 6.59m effort in the long jump, which gave her a 134-point lead ahead of the 800m, which she went into knowing she needed to run under 2:15.60 to break the world record. Sulek very nearly ran herself to a standstill in the final event, stumbling through the final metres to hit the line in 2:07.17, with Thiam crossing in 2:13.60 to take her third European indoor gold, along with the world record.

“Coming here, I felt very confident,” said Thiam. “I have done a lot of good work and of course, the record was in my mind. But you need a good competition, to feel good and to perform well. It is good information for me that I managed to show this result despite the fact that not all events were perfect today. The long jump, high jump could have been better. So I can still build on this.”

Sulek was buoyed by her performance and has eyes on going one better next time. “I really wanted to have a world record and I have done everything,” she said. “I didn’t expect that Nafissatou would be fighting in this style today. I hope that in the future I will be the best in the world.”

Credit: World Athletics 

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