SPORTS

Eatons already have silver in the bag at world indoors, with gold beckoning

03/07/2014 01:03 EST | Updated 05/07/2014 05:59 EDT
SOPOT, Poland - That's what the Eatons call a fun day out at the world indoor championships.

Canada's Brianne Theisen-Eaton already has a pentathlon world silver medal to show off in front of her husband. Ashton Eaton, though, looks like he has heptathlon gold as good as wrapped up before Saturday's finale.

Don't count out another indoor world record — he already did that at the last opportunity two years ago. And he's now got his wife's attention.

"Get ready for him for his next day, bring him dinner, so he can just lie in bed and relax," she said.

Ahead of Saturday's 60 hurdles, pole vault and concluding 1,000 metres, Eaton is only one point shy of his world-record pace of 3,654 points after four events.

Gold and silver is already what athletics' leading couple won at the world outdoor championships in Moscow last year just after their wedding.

Never, though, had they competed for gold in such close proximity as at the Ergo Arena on the Baltic Sea.

"It is all going on very close together," said Theisen-Eaton, who faulted on her first two attempts in the long jump. Ahead of her last attempt, she said she sought eye contact with Ashton who was competing across the hall.

"That is the exact moment when I looked for kind of comfort because I felt scared, you know. It's great competing with him."

She improved her own Canadian record by earning 4,768 points, well ahead of her previous best of 4,555 from 2012.

Eaton said: "I just told her to relax, and it's just like practice and no big deal."

She nailed her last chance, with 6.13 metres, and that set her up for a scorching 800 metres that yielded silver behind Nadine Broersen of the Netherlands. Alina Fodorova of Ukraine got bronze.

All along the closing 800, Eaton took time off the high jump and cheered her every time she passed him on the far side of the track.

"I knew that he would be right there," Theisen-Eaton said. "It's almost, like, unfair, because no one else gets that."

As Ashton was competing on one side of the cavernous Ergo Arena, Brianne competed on the other side, with high-fiving and encouragement in between.

With Theisen-Eaton's silver in the bag, Eaton will need to continue dominating the heptathlon's final day, right up to the closing middle distance race.

"If I have to go for a record in the 1,000, I'll do it," he said.

And for celebration, Theisen-Eaton, from Humboldt, Sask., already has her plans. "Pirogi and cabbage rolls," all local fare.

Damian Warner of London, Ont., was fifth in the heptathlon with 3,384 points.

Toronto's Gavin Smellie qualified for the semifinal in the 60 metres with a time of 6.63 seconds in his heat. T.J. Lawrence, also from Toronto, was fifth in 6.74 seconds and did not advance out of his heat.

Nicole Sifuentes of Winnipeg was third in her 1,500-metre heat with a personal-best time of four minutes 9.49 seconds. She was the fastest time qualifier and advanced to Saturday's final. Nathan Brannen of Cambridge, Ont., did not advance after finishing sixth in his 1,500-metre heat in 3:42.51.

Cameron Levins of Black Creek, B.C., finished fifth in his 3,000-metre heat in 7:44.04 to qualify for Sunday's final. In the women's 800, Calgary's Jenna Westaway finished fifth in her heat with a time of 2:03.52 but did not advance.

The United States already had a first chance to celebrate gold Friday.

In the men's shot put, Ryan Whiting won his second straight world indoor title with a heave of 22.05 metres, edging David Storl of Germany by 26 centimetres.

It was not all smiles for the Americans, though.

Nick Symmonds, who took silver at the outdoor world championships last year, finished fifth in his 800 heat and failed to advance. In the women's 800, 2012 junior world champion Ajee Wilson also finished fourth in her heat and was eliminated.

In other events during the opening session of the three-day championship, former high jump champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia scraped through as the last qualifier for Saturday's final.

Genzebe Dibaba showed off her running potential by cruising into Sunday's final of the 3,000.

"I don't think I'll have a hard time taking gold," said the Ethiopian, who has already set two world records and a world best this season.

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With files from The Canadian Press.

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Follow Raf Casert on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/rcasert

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