Mayer leads world decathlon after 3 events

France's Kevin Mayer competes in the men's decathlon shot put athletics event at the IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on Friday. — AFP

LONDON — France's Olympic silver medalist Kevin Mayer led the world decathlon after the first three events in the World Athletics Championships in London on Friday.

A season's best shot put of 15.72 meters in the third discipline saw the Frenchman amass 2,703 points to leapfrog Germany's Rico Freimuth, now in second on 2,678.

American Trey Hardee, world champion in 2009 and 2011, sits in third (2,647), while Canada's Olympic bronze medalist Damian Warner is sixth (2,590).

The decathletes, seeking to become the first man other than the now retired Ashton Eaton to win a global decathlon event since 2011, compete in the high jump and 400m later on Friday.

Saturday sees them competing in the 110m hurdles, discus and pole vault in the morning session before rounding off with the javelin and 1500m.

Memanwhile, Mutaz Esha Barshim leapt into Sunday's high jump final in the manner of a man ready to finally ascend to the very summit of his sport.

The wiry Qatari, who has jumped higher than anyone in history except Cuban world record holder Javier Sotomayor, breezed through Friday's qualification, clearing the automatic qualifying height of 2.31 meters with the greatest of ease.

Barshim, whose only global title came at the World Indoor Championships in 2014, demonstrated why he is a warm favorite to win his first major outdoor crown following silver and bronze at the last two Olympics.

The 26-year-old, who has an Asian record best of 2.43m, is one of six athletes who cleared 2.31 but the only one to go through the morning without failing on a single jump. His main danger again looks set to come from Ukraine's Bohdan Bondarenko, who beat him to the 2013 title, while Danil Lysenko, competing under a neutral flag following the Russian Federation's ban, also qualified easily after just one failure.

There was delight for the home crowd as Robbie Grabarz confirmed his place in the final amid plenty of cheering by going over 2.31m at the last attempt. Erik Kynard of the United States, who won the Olympic silver in this arena five years ago, had to pull out injured after one unsuccessful attempt at his opening height of 2.17m. — Reuters