How it works
This is the women’s ultimate all-round test, a seven-event contest covering the whole range of athletics disciplines and spread over two days.
Competitors earn points for their performance in each discipline and the overall winner is the athlete who accrues the most points.
The first day consists of (in order): 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put and 200m. Day two comprises Long Jump, Javelin Throw and 800m.
Women first competed in the Pentathlon – five disciplines – at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. This format was later replaced by the Heptathlon, with the addition of the javelin and 800m. The enlarged event was first contested at the 1983 IAAF World Championships and then the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Did you know
The 7000-point barrier has only been breeched on nine occasions, and by just three women. Six of those marks came from the American star Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The Heptathlon came onto the programme of major events in 1981, at the likes of the Asian Championships and World Student Games.
Sweden’s Carolina Kluft is the most successful heptathlete in IAAF World Championships history, winning three consecutive gold medals in 2003, 2005 and 2007. In fact, Kluft was unbeaten in 22 Heptathlon and indoor Pentathlon competitions from March 2002 until her international retirement at the end of the 2012 season, a streak which included winning at the 2004 Olympic Games, although she did not compete in multi-events competitions from March 2008.