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Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 22:24 GMT 23:24 UK

Hansen flops in triple jump

Formanova (left) edges ahead of Masterkova and Mutola on the line

Ashia Hansen, one of Britain's leading medal hopes in Seville, suffered a terrible time in the women's triple jump, slumping to last place in the final.

Seville 99
The world indoor champion finished in 12th spot in Tuesday's competition, after failing to find anything like her top form.

Paraskevi Tsiamita of Greece took gold with a leap of 14:88m, her compatriot Olga-Anastasia Vasdeki claimed bronze, with Cuba's Yamile Aldama in second place.

Hansen never looked in with a shout of a medal and had two of her three jumps wiped out before finishing almost a metre-and-a-half behind the winner with a best effort of 13.39.

She said: I'm disappointed but I will ride this out for the next few days.

"I thought my warm-up went well and there was no problem with my first no-jump, but then I got distracted by the crowd doing a Mexican wave on my next.

"The foul meant I had to play safe on my third attempt but it wasn't enough."

Merry delighted

But there was better news for Britain's women when Katharine Merry qualified for the final of the 400m.

[ image: A delighted Merry celebrates her excellent semi-final display]
A delighted Merry celebrates her excellent semi-final display
The Birchfield runner fully justified her decision to step up to the one-lap event this summer as she shattered her personal best to reach Thursday's showdown.

Merry, coached by Linford Christie, clocked 50.21 seconds to finish third in her semi-final behind Australia's Cathy Freeman, the defending champion, and Germany's Grit Breuer.

But Merry admitted she will have to go through the pain barrier again in the final as she often finishes races with a headache.

"The pressure of competing, of wanting to do well and having to run a personal best to get to the final just builds things up in my head," she said.

"I have a sinus problem as well anyway. But I was delighted when I crossed that line, though I will have to run under 50 seconds if I want to get a medal."

Czech snatches 800m

In a thrilling women's 800m, Ludmila Formanova outsprinted favourite Maria Mutola to claim a surprise gold.

The final was billed as a head-to-head between Mutola and her arch rival, Olympic champion Svetlana Masterkova.

But Formanova upset the form book by beating both in a fantastic finish.

The Czech star, who had beaten Mutola into second place at the indoor world title last March, did it again to record her first major outdoor title.

The pony-tailed 25-year-old surged past Mutola to cross the line in 1min 56.68secs.

Mutola, the 1993 world champion, took silver in 1:56.72 while Masterkova clocked 1:56.93 in third.

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World Athletics Contents

In this section

Athletics saves face

Brits sprint to relay silver

Injury wrecks Backley medal bid

Wembley to host athletics showpiece

Red leader powers Korean runner to gold

Seville winners: Final day

Red-faced relay runners crash out

Devers wins, but Engqvist earns plaudits

Anton is home hero

Greene flies to historic double

Miller makes it gold

Johnson smashes 400m record

Radcliffe wins silver in 10,000 metres

Heat is on in Seville

Michael Johnson: Life in the fast lane

Jackson hurdles to gold

Magnificent Macey snatches silver

Devastated Edwards gets bronze

A sprint too far for Jones

Colin Jackson: Britain's golden boy

Dean Macey: The great unknown

El Guerrouj stuns Seville

Hansen flops in triple jump

Two disqualified over drugs

May quits after medals row

Injury wrecks Smith's medal dream

Jones fails in four-gold attempt

Lewis takes heptathlon silver