Saturday, 25 August 2007

Event report: Women’s Heptathlon - 100m Hurdles

Jessica Ennis showed that she, for one, will not allow Carolina Klüft a simple procession towards her third IAAF World Heptathlon title.

Drawn together in the first of five heats, Klüft, Sweden’s 2003 and 2005 gold medallist, equalled the fastest sprint hurdles performance of her glittering multi-event career, with 13.15sec on the fast track in the Nagai Stadium. But her young British challenger exceeded the favourite’s performance to take a first-event lead by 27 points.

Ennis’s delight was plain even before she reached the finishing line, which she seemed to skip across in a personal best 12.97sec (the wind in the still, humid stadium was a barely noticeable 0.1m/s), 0.07sec better than she had ever managed previously, for 1,129pts.

Ennis’s team mate, Commonwealth champion Kelly Sotherton, also enjoyed the fast track surface, as she, too, recorded a PB (13.21sec, for 1,093pts).

Of the other likely contenders for overall medals, the Ukraine’s Lyudmila Blonska, fourth in this smoky first heat, put herself in contention with 13.25 (1,087pts), although the young Russian, Tatyana Chernova, the World Junior champion, might have wished for better than her 13.71 (1,020).

From the other hurdles heats, only Karin Ruckstuhl (NED), with 13.28 (1,083), produced a performance of the quality seen in the opening race.

The second discipline of the two-day, seven-event Heptathlon, the High Jump, is due to begin at 11.20 local time.

Osaka 2007 News Team/sd

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