Belgian decathlete Thomas Van der Plaetsen successfully defended his title at the World University Games in the Korean city of Gwangju on Thursday July 9th.

Van der Plaetsen started his decathlon campaign on Wednesday July 8 with a decent 11.34 clocking in the 100m. After a rather disappointing 7m08 soar in the long jump, the 24-year-old still moved up to third place overall. He then managed a solid 13m75 in the shot put, his second-best ever within a decathlon, and moved up the rankings into second after clearing 2.10m in the high jump.

In the 400m, the final event of the first day, Van der plaetsen posted a 50.42 clocking and remained 2nd in the overall standings overnight.

After a 14.59 clocking in the 110m hurdles – just 0.14 off his PB and his fastest ever within a decathlon – Van der Plaetsen took the lead for the first time in the competition and continued with a solid 41m85 effort in the discus. With a 5m20 clearance in the pole vault he regained the overall lead with 2 events left.

The IAAF World indoor bronze medalist threw exactly 60m00 in the javelin and finished the 1500m after some 4:50 to win the overall title with a score of 7952.

It may have been his lowest decathlon score since 2010, but that mattered little to Van der Plaetsen, who became just the third man in history to win back-to-back decathlon titles at the World University Games.