The combined events stars are set to return to the shores of the Garda Lake from 29 to 30 April for the GardaStars by Multistars, the 36th edition of the biggest Italian multi events meeting, which kicks off the 2023 World Athletics Combined Events Tour Gold series.
The Multistars was staged at the Tre Stelle Stadium for the last time in 2012 before moving to Florence, Lana in Sudtyrol and Grosseto.
Combined events athletes from 18 countries will compete in the decathlon and heptathlon this weekend. During the press conference of Multistars on 21st April in Desenzano Technical Director of the Multistars Barbara Lombardi, daughter of Meeting Director Gianni Lombardi, presented the athletes, who will line up at this year’s edition.
The US contingent will be represented by Taliyah Brooks and Chari Hawkins.
Brooks won the NACAC under 23 gold medal in San Salvador with 5609 points and the NCAA indoor title in 2018 in the pentathlon with 4572 in College Station. Brooks set PBs of 12.61 in the 100 metres hurdles in Eugene in 2021 and 6.78m in the long jump in Fayetteville in 2018. She has already competed in Italy in her specialist 100m hurdles event at the Golden Gala in Rome, in Rovereto, Padua and Lignano Sabbiadoro in recent years.
Hawkins won the US indoor title in the pentathlon with 4492 points in Spokane in 2022 and finished first in the Combined Events World Tour Gold meeting in Arona with her heptathlon PB of 6243 points in the same year. Hawkins placed 12th at the World Championships in Doha 2019. Indoors she finished third at the 2016 US Indoor Championships in the pentathlon.
Sarah Lagger from Austria will make her second appearance at the Multistars two years after finishing fifth in 2021 with 6111. Lagger won two medals at the World Under 20 Championships (gold in Bydgoszcz 2016 with 5960 points and silver in Tampere 2018 with a national under 20 record of 6225 points). During her career Lagger won two silver medals at the World Under 18 Championships in Cali 2015 and at the European Under 18 Championships in Tiblisi 2016 and the bronze medal at the European Under 20 Championships in Grosseto 2017. At the senior level, the Austrian athlete placed eighth at the World Indoor Championships in the pentathlon in Belgrade 2022 with 4391 points.
Jade O’Dowda will be looking to continue the strong British tradition at the Multistars. O’Dowda won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games on home soil in Birmingham with 6212 points and placed seventh at the European Championships in Munich with 6187 last August. All British combined events stars Denise Lewis, Kelly Sotherton, Jessica Ennis Hill and Katarina Johnson Thompson competed in the past editions of the Multistars. Ennis Hill won twice in 2007 (6388 points) and 2009, when she improved Liliana Nastase’s meeting record in the heptathlon with 6587 points and jumped 1.95m in the high jump.
Italian hopes are carried by Italian indoor record holder Sveva Gerevini, who will be aiming to improve her PB of 6028 set last year at the 2022 European Championships in Munich and possibly come close to the national record of 6185 set by Gertrud Bacher at the Multistars in 1999. Gerevini placed second at last year’s edition of the Multistars with 6011. She finished eighth at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul in the pentathlon with 4363 and set the national indoor record with 4451 at the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona last year.
Gerevini held a training clinic for elementary and middle school children on the track of the Tre Stelle Stadium last March to promote the Multistars meeting.
The other contenders are Alysbeth Felix Boyer from Puerto Rico (national record 6124), Myke Van de Wiel from the Netherlands (PB 6012) and Edyla Bielska from Poland (PB 5945) and Jodie Smith from Great Britain (PB 5929).
Felix Boyer won the Ibero American Championships in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and finished third at the 2022 NACAC Championships in Freeport last year. She finished 11th in her first appearance at the Multistars last year in Grosseto. Van de Wiel also competed last year at this meeting finishing ninth with 5696 points.
Two athletes with a PB of 8400 points Karel Tilga from Estonia and Thomas Van der Plaetzen from Belgium and four more athletes with a best score of over 8300 points will highlight the men’s decathlon: defending champion Markus Rooth from Norway, Felipe Dos Santos from Brazil, Devon Williams from the USA and Pawel Wiesolek from Poland.
Tilga won the NCAA indoor title in 2021 in the heptathlon with 6264 points, the NCAA outdoor title in Eugene in 2021 with 8261 points and the European under 20 bronze medal in Grosseto 2017. The Estonian athlete improved his PB by 400 points to 8484 points at the Specs Town Invitational in Athens in 2021 beating US Garrett Scantling by eight points. Tilga is a student at the University of Georgia.
Van der Plaetzen won the European gold medal in Amsterdam 2016 with 8218 and placed eighth at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 with 8332. The Belgian athlete finished third in Goetzis in 2021 with a PB of 8430. His brother Michael Van de Plaetzen now trains Olympic, World and European champion Nafissatou Thiam. Van de Plaetzen has recently trained in South Africa in preparation for this season.
Rooth will return to the Multistars aiming to repeat the win in last year’s edition. Rooth set the national record of 8307 points in Grosseto in 2022 beating his compatriot Sander Skotheim. Rooth came to the fore in June 2020 when he won the Norwegian under-20 title with 8238 points setting the second under-20 best performance in history. One year later won the European under 23 bronze medal in Tallinn 2021 with 7967. Norway won four of the past six editions of the Multistars through Lars Rise (2016), Martin Roe in 2018 and 2021 and Rooth last year and is set to continue its proud tradition.
Devon Willams, brother of heptathlon specialist Kendall Williams, won the US decathlon title in Des Moines 2019 with 8295 and the NCAA indoor in the heptathlon in College Station 2017 with 6177 points. He placed 10th at the World Championships in London in 2017 with 8088 and set his PB of 8345 points in the decathlon in Athens in 2017.
Wiesolek won the Multistars in Florence in 2015 with 7863 points and finished third in the heptathlon with 6133 points at the European Indoor Championships in Torun 2021. The Polish athlete set a decathlon PB of 8333 points in Warsaw in 2021.
Dos Santos set his PB of 8364 in Sao Paulo in 2020 and finished second in 2021 at the South American Championships in Guayaquil.
Two other top European decathletes in the field are Germany’s Tim Nowak, who won two bronze medals at the European Under 20 Championships in Rieti 2013 and at the World Under 20 Championships in Eugene 2014 and set his PB of 8229 in Talence in 2018, and Fredrick Samuelsson from Sweden, who placed fourth at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow 2019 and set his decathlon PB of 8172 in Goetzis in 2017.
The hopes of Italian fans are carried by Lorenzo Naidon, 2023 national indoor champion with 5714 points and second placer at the Italian Outdoor Championships in the decathlon in Rieti 2022 with his PB of 7647, and 2021 Lorenzo Modugno, who won the national Italian outdoor title in Rovereto 2021 with 7303 and finished ninth at the 2022 Multistars in Grosseto with his decathlon PB of 7494 points.
Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs will be the special guest on Saturday. Jacobs grew up in Desenzano and started his athletics career under the guidance of Gianni Lombardi, the Meeting Director of the Multistars.
“Marcell was one of the young volunteers, he helped the organization, brought the sandwiches to the athletics officials and was available to the athletes”, said Gianni Lombardi during the press conference last week.
Jacobs will attend the inauguration of the new track and hold a demonstration of fast sprinting and starting from the blocks for young athletes of the Athletics Jacobs Academy.
“It’s fantastic that the Multistars is returning to Desenzano. This event marked my youth and growth as an athlete. I founded the Jacobs Athletics Academy. I have cultivated this dream for some time and I am proud that this project has come true. Sport is a fundamental aspect of the training of children and a way to help them achieve their dreams. I am happy to support this initiative, which is almost a rebirth”, said Marcell Jacobs.
|Van de Wiel||Myke||NED||6.012||5.798|
Entry Lists Men Decathlon
|Van der Plaetsen||Thomas||BEL||8.430|
|Ferreira Santana||Jose Fernando||BRA||7.944||7.707|