World decathlon record holder Kevin Mayer will need to score in excess of 8,350 to book his place at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Olympic silver medallist and world decathlon record-holder Kevin Mayer will be aiming to hit the Tokyo 2020 qualification mark of 8,350 points at the Meeting de la Réunion.

With athletes keen to make the most of the recently reopened Olympic qualifying window, the competition on the remote French island of Réunion is part of the World Athletics Challenge – Combined Events.

Starting tomorrow and scheduled to finish on Saturday (December 19), the event is also the first meeting in the 2021 series.

The qualification period for combined events opened on January 1 in 2019 before being frozen in April this year following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It reopened on December 1 and is now scheduled to run until June 29 in 2021.

Most of the world’s leading combined events athletes achieved qualifying standards in 2019, but Mayer has yet to reach it.

The 2019 World Championships was the only decathlon the Frenchman contested last year but he failed to defend his title when injury got the better of him in the pole vault, the eighth of 10 disciplines.

With that injury now behind him, Mayer is hopeful of achieving the required score of 8,350 to put himself in line for Olympic selection for Japanese capital Tokyo next year.

"I can’t wait to get back on track, to put into practice everything I’ve worked on this year and to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard,” said Mayer, who in 2018 set a world record of 9,126.

"When I do (get the standard), it will be less pressure and I will be able to finish my preparation for Tokyo calmly."

Ukraine's Hanna Kasyanova is set to be among the leading heptathletes competing in the World Athletics Challenge – Combined Events meeting ©Getty Images
Ukraine's Hanna Kasyanova is set to be among the leading heptathletes competing in the World Athletics Challenge – Combined Events meeting ©Getty Images

Mayer is not the only athlete heading to La Réunion with ambitions of hitting an Olympic qualifier or boosting a world ranking.

Eight other men in the decathlon field have a personal best (PB) in excess of 8,000 points, while the top six heptathlon entrants have 6,000-point PBs.

Ukraine’s two-time world indoor silver medallist Oleksiy Kasyanov, now 35, is keen to make a fourth Olympic Games appearance.

The 2009 world bronze medallist won the Ukrainian title at the end of August with 7,716, but he will need to be closer to his lifetime best of 8,479 if he is to make it to Tokyo.

Estonian duo Risto Lillemets and Taavi Tsernjavski joined the 8000-point club earlier this year and both could challenge for a podium spot this weekend.

Lillemets scored 8,133 to win the Estonian title in August, while Tsernjavski tallied 8086 in Rakvere in July.

Ukraine’s 2013 world champion Hanna Kasyanova leads the heptathlon entries.

The 37-year-old recently completed her first heptathlon since giving birth in March 2018, scoring 5,962 at the Ukrainian Championships at the end of August.

But the battle for victory could be between Colombia’s Evelyn Aguilar and Switzerland’s Geraldine Ruckstuhl.

Aguilar came within 31 points of her lifetime best in September, scoring 6,254 at the Spanish Championships in Madrid while Ruckstuhl won the European under-23 title last year and has a lifetime best of 6,391.

World champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson will also be in action in La Réunion, although she won’t be contesting the full heptathlon.

Instead, the British record holder will just line up for a few individual disciplines.