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Saturday, August 21, 1999 Published at 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK

Lewis fights back in heptathlon

Denise Lewis struggled over the hurdles but things got better

British gold medal hope Denise Lewis is a point off the heptathlon lead at the halfway stage.

John Rawling rounds up day one in Seville
The reigning European and Commonwealth champion trails France's Eunice Barber by just one point.

The 26-year-old is bidding to become the first British athlete to win a global gold medal for four years.

She was a massive 185 points adrift after the opening two events.

[ image: Eunice Barber: Leads by a point]
Eunice Barber: Leads by a point
But a shot put fightback saw her beat her career best three times, and took her into a 65 points advantage over Barber.

The French woman just overturned her lead in the 200m to set up a thrilling final day.

Lewis has been injured this year and needed treatment with an ice-pack as she began her first heptathlon since last September.

The start was Lewis's worst since 1993, with a sluggish high hurdles display seeing her finish in fourth in 13.61 seconds.

But the response was excellent as the high jump saw a personal best 1.87m, although Barber soared over 1.93m.

On the last day Barber is expected to have the edge in the long jump and the final event, the 800m.

Good shot

Lewis will need to dominate the javelin, as she did the shot, where she improved her lifetime best in a multi-event competition by 85cm to 16.12m.

Barber could only manage 12.37m to lose 250 points to Lewis.

But the French competitor fought back with a time of 23.57 seconds in the 200m compared to her title rival's 24.26secs.

"I thought I had to put down two strong markers in the opening events, but it did not work out like that. The hurdles was disastrous," admitted Lewis.

"Eunice was fantastic and one point is a lot closer than I thought it would be.

"She has two very good events tomorrow. I think the medals will be decided during the 800metres. It's going to go down to the wire."

Jones on target

Elsewhere American Marion Jones took her first steps towards her target of four titles this week.

[ image: Jones: Unbeatable on the track?]
Jones: Unbeatable on the track?
The 100m second round saw her post a championship best of 10.76 secs which was also the fastest in the world this year.

Jones also eased her way into the long jump final on Monday where she will be joined by Italy's Slough-born Fiona May, the 1995 champion, and Britain's Commonwealth gold medallist Jo Wise.

Dragila vaults to victory

The first women's pole vault world title went to American Stacy Dragila who cleared 4.60m to equal the world record.

With her second attempt Dragila matched the mark set by Australian Emma George last February in Sydney.

Ukraine's Anzhela Balakhonova took silver with 4.55 and Australian Tatiana Grigorieva claimed the bronze with 4.45.

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