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Sunday, August 22, 1999 Published at 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK

Lewis back on course for gold

Denise Lewis: Must beat Barber in javelin and 800m events

Britain's Denise Lewis is still in the hunt for heptathalon gold after judges at the World Championships in Seville ruled that her controversial long jump should stand.

The BBC's John Rawling: "Anything but bad news for Denise here"
A spokesman for the International Amateur Athletic Federation said: "Lewis's jump has been accepted."

In a day of protracted haggling between the British and French federations, the decision was changed no less than five times.

73-point advantage

The controversy centred around the legality of Lewis's final attempt in the long jump.

Measured at 6.64m, it brought the British athlete within striking distance of leader Eunice Barber of France.

But French officials claimed Lewis had fouled her last jump by touching the plasticine. However, the IAAF eventually decided to overrule their protest.

Barber still maintains a narrow 73-point advantage, but with two events remaining Lewis is in a strong position to challenge for the championship.

Jump controversy

Had the IAAF found against the British athlete, she would have been more than 200 points adrift of the lead and in a poor position to challenge for gold.

The to-ing and fro-ing began when officials initially turned down an appeal by Lewis after she and her coach claimed that her final jump should have been declared legal.

A replay of the jump concluded that Lewis' foot had not touched the plasticine.

[ image: Eunice Barber: Commands a 73-point lead]
Eunice Barber: Commands a 73-point lead
After a lengthy delay the officials overruled their initial decision and allowed the jump.

But the French team lodged a counter protest which was accepted.

Representatives from the British camp then launched another protest using video and photographic evidence to try and convince the officials to change their minds.

Their evidence was ruled sufficient and it appears that the decision is final.

Lewis's final leap in the long jump event was just 3cms below her personal best and a massive 44cms better than her previous jump in the competiton.

Barber fouled

The British athlete will still have to outperform Barber in the remaining javelin and 800m events to stand a chance of winning the competition.

Barber was one-point ahead of Lewis going into the fourth discipline, the long jump.

The Frenchwoman consolidated her position in her specialist event, with a superb jump of 6.86m.

But Barber then fouled her final attempt after being delayed several minutes by Lewis' protest.

Lewis, the reigning European and Commonwealth champion, is bidding to become the first British athlete since Jonathan Edwards four years ago to win a World gold medal.

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