The 35th edition of the Multistars meeting in Grosseto kicks off the World Athletics Combined Events Tour Gold from 30 April to 1 May.
The Multistars took place in Desenzano del Garda from 1988 to 2012 and moved to the Luigi Ridolfi Stadium from 2013 to 2018 and then to Lana in Sudtyrol in 2019 and 2021. The Italian Combined Events meeting now returns to Tuscany and will be held in the Carlo Zecchini Stadium in Grosseto, which hosted the World Under 20 Championships in 2004 and the European Under 20 Championships in 2017.
Swiss combined events specialist Geraldine Ruckstuhl leads the line-up in the women’s heptathlon. Ruckstuhl returns to Grosseto where she won the European Under 20 silver medal with a Swiss record of 6357 points after an outstanding battle with Ukraine’s Alina Shuck. In that competition, Ruckstuhl improved her PB to 54.32m in the javelin throw, her favorite event.
Ruckstuhl won two gold medals at the World Under 18 Championships with 6037 in Cali 2015 and at the European Under 23 Championships in Gavle 2019 with 6274. She also improved the javelin national record to 58.31 at the Hypo Meeting in Goetzis in 2017 and finished second at the Decastar meeting in Talence setting the national heptathlon record with 6391 points in 2018.
Another Swiss specialist in the field is Annik Kalin, who won the European Under 20 bronze medal in Boras 2019 with 6069 points and finished sixth at the World Under 20 Championships in Tampere 2018.
Claudia Conte from Spain made her breakthrough last year when she won the European Under 23 silver medal in the heptathlon with 6186 points in Tallinn. Conte also improved her 200m PB to 24.89m in the Estonian capital.
The 22-year-old Spanish specialist finished sixth at the World Indoor Championships in the pentathlon in Belgrade 2022 improving her PB to 4499 points after improving three individual PBs in the high jump with 1.83m, in the long jump with 6.13m and in the shot put with 12.73m. Conte is aiming to follow in the footsteps of her compatriot Maria Vicente, who won the Multistars meeting last year in Lana.
Sveva Gerevini will make her outdoor debut after her outstanding indoor season, when she improved the Italian pentathlon record twice to 4434 in Aubière and to 4451 points at the National Indoor Championships in Ancona, where she set her long jump PB with 6.34m. The 25-year-old heptathlete went to finish ninth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade with 4377 points after improving her 60m hurdles PB to 8.35. Outdoors Gerevini won four Italian heptathlon titles in Lana in 2017, in Pescara in 2018, in Bressanone in 2019 with her lifetime best of 5907 points, and in Padua in 2020.
Sofia Ifantidou from Greece returns to the Multistars meeting, which she has already won twice in 2012 in Desenzano del Garda with her PB of 6109 and in 2015 in Florence with 5900.
Alysbeth Felix Boyer from Puerto Rico will make her second appearance in Multistars after competing at this meeting in 2018. Felix Boyer, who set her national record with 6124 points in 2016, won the Ibero-American Championships in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and finished sixth at the Panamerican Games in Lima in 2019.
The line-up is rounded out by two more athletes with a PB over the 6000 points barrier: Paulina Ligarska, who finished seventh at the European Indoor Championships in Torun 2021 in the pentathlon and scored a heptathlon PB of 6028 points in Warsaw last year, and Myke Van de Wiel from the Netherlands, who scored a PB of 6012 points in 2021.
The men’s decathlon line-up features six athletes with a PB over the 8000 points barrier. Pieter Braun from the Netherlands leads the field in the men’s decathlon with his PB of 8342 points set in Goetzis in 2018. The Dutch combined events specialist won the European Under 23 gold medal in the decathlon with 8195 points in Tallin 2015 and finished seventh at the European Championships in Berlin 2018 with 8105 and at the World Championships in Doha 2019 with 8222.
Axel Hubert from France holds the third-best score among the entrants with his PB of 8260 points he scored in 2020 when he won the National decathlon title in Aubagne.
The Estonian contingent is represented by Risto Lillemets, who finished fifth at the European Indoor Championships in the heptathlon in Torun 2021 and took tenth place at the Hypo Meeting in Goetzis with his lifetime best of 8156 points, Kristjan Rosenberg, who won the national decathlon title with 8299 points in Tallin in 2021, and Taavi Tsernjavski, who set a PB of 8066 in 2020.
The Italian hopes are carried by Dario Dester, who broke the national indoor record in the heptathlon scoring 6076 points at the National Indoor Championships in Ancona 2021 and went on to finish seventh with 5835 at the European Indoor Championships in Torun a few weeks later. Dester finished fourth at last year’s edition of the Multistars in Lana with 7758 points. This year the 21-year-old Italian decathlete won his second consecutive national indoor title with 6038 points and finished 10th at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade with 5929. Dester made his breakthrough in 2019 when he finished fifth at the European Under 20 Championships in 2019 and finished fourth at the European Under 23 Championships setting the National under 23 record with 7936 points in Tallinn 2021. Dester and Gerevini come from the same town Casalbuttano near Cremona and train together under the guidance of passionate combined events coach Pietro Frittoli.
Two names to watch for the future are Norwegian decathletes Sander Skotheim, European Under 20 silver medallist in Tallin 2021, and Markus Rooth, who won two bronze medals at the European Under 20 Championships in Boras 2019 and at the European Under 23 Championships in Tallin 2021. Rooth set the second world all-time best under 20 performance with 8238 points in Oslo in 2020. They are aiming to continue the recent Norwegian decathlon tradition at the Multistars started by Lars Rise, who won in Florence in 2016, and Martin Roe, who claimed two victories in Florence in 2018, and Lana in 2021.
The line-up is rounded out by Aaron Booth from New Zealand, who won the gold medal at the World University Games in Neaples in 2019 with 7827, Georni Jaramillo from Venezuela, who won the South American decathlon title in 2019 and set a PB of 8148 in Barquisimeto in 2018, and José Fernando Ferreira Santana from Brazil, national champion with his PB of 7944 in 2019.