Barbara Nwaba competes on Friday, August 12 and Saturday, August 13 in the Heptathlon at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games; schedule and event-by-event preview; SBTC to be featured on NBC program, “Olympic Zone” on Thursday, August 11
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Barbara Nwaba of the ABEO / Santa Barbara Track Club, hosted at Westmont College is set to compete in the two-day, seven-event Heptathlon competition at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, her first such honor for Team USA. The Heptathlon kicks off the Track & Field competition at Olympic stadium on Friday, August 12 where Nwaba enters the competition as the sixth ranked Heptathlete in the world this year with 6,494pts and has the twelfth best career score in the field with 6500pts. She qualified for her first Olympic Games by winning the 2016 USA Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, OR in early July.
Other Santa Barbara notables competing in Track & Field at the Olympic Games include honorary part-time Santa Barbara residents Ashton Eaton (USA / Decathlon) and Brianne Theisen-Eaton (CAN / Heptathlon) who are event favorites for Gold as well as Damian Warner (CAN / Decathlon) who enters the competition ranked third in the world. In addition, Goleta native Nicholas Scarvelis (GRE) will compete in the Shot Put.
Below we’ve provided a Heptathlon viewing guide, resources and an event-by-event preview. We will update it accordingly once the final heat sheets come out. On Friday and Saturday the SBTC will also have event-by-event results and recaps as the competition progresses.
Heptathlon Viewing Guide (all times Pacific Daylight Time)
100m Hurdles – Friday, August 12 @ 5:35am PDT
Nwaba will be in Heat 2 of 4 scheduled for 5:43am PDT and is positioned in lane 5. She has a best of 13.38 (1068pts) from the 2015 Sam Adams Combined Events Invitational at Westmont College. At the Olympic Trials in Eugene earlier in the summer she ran a season’s best 13.65 (1028pts). Look out for Latvian Heptathlete Laura Ikauniece-Admidina to push Nwaba in lane 8 who has a blistering 13.07 season and personal best. Ikauniece-Admidina has the fourth best Heptathlon score in 2016 with 6622pts.
High Jump – Friday, August 12 @ 6:50am PDT
As one of the best High Jumpers in the field, Nwaba will be in Group A at 6:50am PDT with the fourth best jump in 2016. In Eugene at the 2016 USA Olympic Team Trials, Nwaba set a personal best, Hayward Field stadium record and tied the Trials records with her leap of 1.90m / 6’2.75 (1106pts). Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR) will be an important athlete to watch with the second best mark in the field and the ability to score 60-70 plus points over Nwaba in the High Jump. At the 2016 Götzis Hypo Meeting in May Nwaba and Johnson-Thompson were locked in a close battle with Nwaba finishing ahead on the overall scoreboard by 56pts.
Shot Put – Friday, August 12 @ 4:35pm PDT
In the third event and kicking off the evening section in Rio, Nwaba will be in Group A at 4:35pm PDT. At the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships, she set a big personal best with her toss of 15.00m / 49’2.5 (861pts). Outdoors she has a best of 14.64m / 48’0.5 (837pts), which she set in 2015, while her outdoor season’s best is 14.47m / 47’5.75 (825pts) from the Thorpe Cup prior to departing to Rio.
200m Dash – Friday, August 12 @ 6:05pm PDT
To wrap up Day 1, Nwaba will toe the line in Heat 3 of 4 in lane 3 at 6:15pm PDT. Recently, Nwaba has excelled at the longer 800m run, but her 200m is also an event where she can score over 1000pts. In 2015 she ran 23.76 (1004pts) and has a season’s best of 24.04 (977pts), which she ran in a light headwind at the Götzis Hypo Meeting in late May.
Nwaba’s Day 1 personal best is 3909pts and will likely need to be near or exceed that count to be in position for a top 5 finish. The reigning Olympic Champion Jessica Ennis-Hill (GBR) and Theisen-Eaton are the pre-event gold medal favorites. Ennis-Hill is the fifth best Heptathlete all-time with a personal best 6955pts, while Theisen-Eaton comes in as the reigning World Indoor Pentathlon champion and leads the field with a 2016 best of 6765pts.
Long Jump – Saturday, August 13 @ 7:45am PDT
Leveraging her speed and leaping abilities, Nwaba has a best from 2015 reaching 6.23 / 20’5.25 (921pts). She will be competing in Group B as the 14th jumper. At the Thorpe Cup, just a few days prior to departing for Rio she jumped out to a season’s best 6.06m / 19’10.75 (868pts).
Javelin – Saturday, August 13 @ 4:00pm PDT (group A) / 5:18pm PDT (group B)
Finding new distance in 2016, Nwaba set a personal best toss of 50.40 / 165’04.25 (868pts) at the Sam Adams Combined Events Invitational. She has continued to hover around the 50m line at multiple competitions in 2016.
800m Run – Saturday, August 13 @ 6:50pm PDT
One of her strongest events in relation to the rest of the competition, Nwaba is one of the best in the world at 800m amongst Heptathletes. Her personal best 2:07.13 (1007pts) from the 2015 USA National Championships helped her win her first USA title. Her best thus far in 2016 is a 2:10.08 (963pts) at Götzis that catapulted her to a fifth place overall Heptathlon finish amongst many of the same women she will see in Rio.