Injured decathlon world champion Kaul: In the end the wheelchair came

Niklas Kaul wanted a medal, after the fifth discipline the decathlon is over for the world champion

Photo: INA FASSBENDER / AFP

He had tried: Decathlon world champion Niklas Kaul was in the 400 – Meter race, the fifth and last discipline of the first day, still on gone the start. Clamped into the starting blocks, started sprinting, 50 Meter run, 100 Meter , but then you already suspected that it would soon be over.

In the middle of the second corner, Kaul slowed down, he was already before been passed through to the rear. Kaul lay down on his back and put his hands over his face, stayed there, grabbed his right foot. A little later he was driven out of the interior in a wheelchair.

Kaul had himself injured in the high jump discipline. Team doctor Andrew Lichtenthal explained what exactly had happened: “During his last jump, he compressed his take-off joint,” said the doctor. Kaul was not twisted, but: “A swelling developed from this.” The injury was managed to some extent. It was agreed that Kaul should try it – and if it doesn’t work, he should stop.

It didn’t work.

It’s a bitter end to the Tokyo Olympics for Kaul who 2019 surprisingly became world champion in this discipline in Doha. Because actually he had started the decathlon properly. Kaul ran the 100 meters in 11, 27 Seconds, that was five hundredths less than when he won the title. In the long jump he even had a personal best of 7, 36 Meters down.

»So far it has It was fun « Only the shot put was unsuccessful. 14, 55 Meters the ball only flew, that was quite a bit shorter than its best distance (15, 19 Meter). With 2474 points it was meanwhile on the 17. Place in the overall classification. Nevertheless, Kaul had said: “So far it has been fun.” He still had a chance for a medal: Kaul will have his strongest disciplines on the second day of the competition.

Then came the fateful discipline, the high jump. Again Kaul set a personal best, pushed himself onto the 13. 2nd place in the interim ranking – it was precisely during this jump that he injured himself, “Every discipline has its pitfalls,” said team doctor Lichtenthal.

As Kaul left the interior after the high jump, a bloody sock could be seen. But this had nothing to do with the injury, because of which Kaul had to stop, reported team doctor Lindenthal.

948 Kaul became King of Qatar Kaul has been at the latest since 2019 a term for many Germans, at that time it suddenly became the face of German athletics. In Doha two years ago he surprisingly won the world title in the decathlon: King of Qatar .

He was already considered a top talent back then, but this title was a sensation, which he had made perfect thanks to his outstanding javelin throwing skills. In that World Cup year he was also named Germany’s Sportsman of the Year .

But even then it was already clear that the career didn’t have to go on like this . The decathlon, the sport of kings, has already produced a number of injured athletes.

A bandage on the right foot Kaul also had to fight repeatedly with injuries in the run-up to the Olympic Games, last year he had an operation on his elbow. Kaul had not contested a decathlon for almost a year and a half, he had to get used to the competition again.

In Tokyo he wanted to fight for a medal, but this dream ended on the first day of the competition. With a cap on his head, his rucksack shouldered, he went out of the arena. Kaul limped a little, had a bandage on his right foot, and was accompanied by two volunteers. He didn’t want to talk about his injury that evening.

Team doctor Lichtenthal revealed how the injured man was going to go on: »Kaul now comes to the Olympic Village, where he should rest. Tomorrow we will take him to the university clinic and do an MRI. ”

Kaul is 23 Year old. Under normal circumstances, Tokyo was not his last Olympic chance. But it remains a decathlon.

With agency material.

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