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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
Kluft powers to heptathlon gold
Carolina Kluft
Kluft produced the best jump in the long jump
Carolina Kluft battled through injury to retain her European heptathlon title from Holland's Karin Ruckstuhl and Germany's Lilli Schwarzkopf.

Kluft, roared on by the adoring Swedish crowd in Gothenburg, clinched the title by 317 points after a gutsy display.

Britain's Kelly Sotherton slipped from silver to seventh after managing only a woeful 30.05m with the javelin.

Her compatriot Jessica Ennis had started the day in bronze medal place but faded to finish in eighth.

Kluft's victory was a triumph for sheer determination as much as her immense natural talent.

Never at her best - she failed to produce a single personal best in the two days of competition - she was nevertheless too strong for her rivals despite suffering from serious hamstring problems.

I had three personal bests, but one event let me down

Kelly Sotherton

She began the day by stretching her overall lead with the best long jump of 6.65m and then threw 46.32m in the javelin to confirm her dominance.

She said: "The toughest moment was Monday morning because I felt my hamstring in the warm-up.

"But then I came into the arena and saw all the fantastic spectators. Yes there was the pressure - but I was able to do what I wanted with the support of fantastic fans."

Sotherton had been in silver for much of the competition, but as at the World Championships last year and the 2004 Olympics, her chances of challenging Kluft were wrecked by her inability to perform in the javelin.

She had stayed in second after producing a good 6.51m in the long jump, only to see her rivals out-throw her massively in the javelin.

She said: "I had three personal bests, but one event let me down.

"I thought my problems with the javelin were all about my confidence, but I don't think it is - I'll have to get it sorted for next year.

"It's not what I wanted but I have to be happy with those PBs. A week ago I didn't think I'd be here, so I have to thank the British medical team."

Kluft's victory was seldom in doubt after France's Eunice Barber pulled out after two events on Monday because of a sore left thigh.

Ennis, in her first year in the senior ranks, was delighted with her two days.

She said: "I wanted to come here and do a PB and come top eight, so it's been a great two days - I've really enjoyed it."

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