Saturday, 25 August 2007
The Shot Put, the third phase of the seven-discipline test to find the world's finest all-round woman athlete thoroughly shuffled the pack.
Yet the stronger throwers, such as Austra Skuyte, of Lithuania, whose second-round 16.96m beat all opposition by more than 60cm, still could not shake off the doggedly determined Carolina Kluft, the 24-year-old Swede bidding for a third successive World title.
Skuyte, for example, had started the Shot in only 23rd position of the 39 women who had begun the competition more than eight hours earlier. Skuyte, not the strongest of sprinters, loomed up into fourth place as a consequence of her throwing power.
Likewise, former shot putter Nataliya Dobrynska (UKR), managed first 15.78, then a personal best 16.31 (949pts), but had started this event a long way off the ''pace'', only 19th overall, and so was now fifth, but some 237pts off the lead.
Kluft, of course, led the competition after her efforts in the High Jump, and here she effectively extended her lead over her closest challengers. Her first effort had been a limp 12.88, but she really hit her second throw which went well beyond the 14-metre marker: 14.81, a season's best, and racking up another 848pts.
Kluft's rivals for the medals could only stand and watch admiringly: Jessica Ennis, the early leader, dropped four positions overall after managing just 11.88 (her best is 13.28); Lyudmila Blonska, third after a good High Jump, performed well again in the Shot, but still yielded ground to the Swede with her best effort of 14.44, the 823pts taking the Ukrainian into the silver medal position; Kelly Sotherton, the Commonwealth champion, produced two season's bests, her 14.14 second effort levering her into the medal positions.
The women return to the track at 9.30pm local time for the fourth and final discipline of the first day, the 200m sprint.
Leading positions after three events:
1, Kluft 3121
2, Blonska 3042
3, Sotherton 2950
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