Sally Pearson progresses in the 60m hurdles

American shot putter Ryan Whiting retained his world indoor title in thrilling style on Friday as Nadine Broersen claimed the Netherlands’ first ever women’s pentathlon gold.

In a packed opening day at the Ergo Arena at the Polish Baltic Sea resort town of Sopot, a host of other favourites safely negotiated their heats ahead of finals over the weekend.

In a gripping shot put contest, Whiting managed a best of 22.05 metres on his fourth attempt to finish 26cm ahead of Germany’s two-time outdoor champion David Storl, the early leader. New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh claimed a surprise bronze (21.26m) to break home hearts, as the hugely popular Tomasz Majewski finished 22cm short of the podium.

The 23-year-old Broersen racked up 4,830 points from the five disciplines of 60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800m that make up the pentathlon.

Her victory ruined any chance of golden marital bliss for Canada’s silver medallist Brianne Thiesen Eaton, whose American husband Ashton Eaton was primed for top spot on the podium in the men’s heptathlon.

Eaton put her silver-medal showing, in what was the closest ever world indoor pentathlon with just 273 points separating the eight athletes, down to a lack of mental steel. “It wasn’t so much the physical thing I struggled with, but more a little bit mentally, getting excited to compete at this meet,” she said.

In other events, a host of familiar faces advanced smoothly through their heats, notably Australian Sally Pearson, who matched her season best of 7.79 seconds to easily progress in the 60m hurdles. “I was quite nervous out there because it is the first round,” said Pearson, who claimed the world outdoor 100m hurdles title in 2011 in Daegu and went on to win the Olympic gold in London a year later.

The results: On Friday: Men: Shot put: 1. Ryan Whiting (USA) 22.05m; 2. David Storl (Ger) 21.79; 3. Tomas Walsh (NZ) 21.26.

Women: Pentathlon: 1. Nadine Broersen (Ned) 4,830 points; 2. Brianne Theisen-Eaton (Can) 4,768; 3. Alina Fyodorova (Ukr) 4,724.

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