Saturday, 25 August 2007

Event report: Women's Heptathlon - 200m

Carolina Kluft will sleep easy in her bed tonight, after a hard day's work sees her poised for an historic third successive Heptathlon World title.

The 24-year-old Swede did not manage to win the fourth event of the day, the 200m sprint, but she ran Jessica Ennis very close in the fourth heat of five, clocking 23.38sec, a season's best, for 1041 points and an overnight score of 4,162.

That puts her 148 points clear of Lyudmila Blonska, of Ukraine, who was clearly nervy ahead of the start of the race, as she registered a false start and was left trailing by the better sprinters, clocking 24.09 for 972pts and an overnight total of 4014.

The British duo of Ennis and Kelly Sotherton pushed Kluft hard in their heat. Ennis, the European under-23 champion this summer, and Sotherton both recorded personal bests, 23.15 (1064pts) and 23.40 (1039).

Ennis, after a slow-looking start from an outside lane, powered down the straight to overtake her team mate and put at least a metre between herself and the Swede.

It all sets up an intriguing battle over the final three events on Sunday, with just 72 points covering the silver, bronze and fourth places overnight.

Other potential medallists Austra Skujte (LTU) and Nataliya Dobrynska (UKR) were placed in the fifth, slower heat. Neither managed to score more than 900pts, and so slipped down the rankings as Germany's Jennifer Oeser, winner of Heat 3 in 24.41 (942pts) moved into fifth place overnight, but more than 170 points adrift of the medal placings.

''I am very satisfied with today's results,'' Kluft said, adding at the end of her 12-hour day, ''now I have to rest.''

The Heptathlon resumes on Sunday morning with the Long Jump, an event favoured by all the top four.

Leading standings after four events:
1, Kluft 4,162
2, Blonska 4,014
3, Sotherton 3,989

Osaka 2007 News Team/sd

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