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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 19:10 GMT
Birmingham - 2-4 March, 2007

Kelly Sotherton and Carolina Kluft
Sotherton finished 17 points behind champion Kluft
Defending champion Carolina Kluft held off a gutsy challenge from Britain's Kelly Sotherton to take pentathlon gold at the European Indoor Championships.

Sotherton needed to beat Kluft by 1.6 seconds in the 800m but the Swede stayed on her shoulder throughout and finished with 4,944 points.

Sotherton's 4,927 points was a new British and Commonwealth record.

Holland's Karin Ruckstuhl took third, and Jessica Ennis of Britain was sixth with 4,716 points, a personal best.

"I worked my guts off and pushed Carolina all the way," Sotherton told BBC Sport. "Everyone raised their games, there were so many personal bests out there.

"Having such a close competition makes things more interesting for everyone, especially going into the outdoor season."

Kluft was 24 points clear of Sotherton going into the final event of the day after landing a season's best 6.59m in the long jump.

I've got to be confident for Saturday because it's all going to plan

Nicola Sanders

Sotherton had recorded personal bests in the high jump (1.88m) and shot (14.57m) to lead after three events, but was unable to end Kluft's five-year unbeaten run.

Sheffield's Ennis ran 8.22 seconds in the opening 60m hurdles and set a new personal best when she became the only athlete to clear 1.91m in the high jump to move above Kluft after two events.

But the 21-year-old dropped back after a poor shot and long jump.

Sweden's Susanna Kallur clocked 7.86 seconds to win the 60m hurdles, having posted the fastest time in the world this year (7.84secs) in her heat.

Sara McGreavy, who advanced to the final as a fastest loser, finished a creditable fifth in 8.04 seconds.

Russia's Aleksandra Antonova was second in 7.94 while Germany's Kirsten Bolm was third.

Nicola Sanders comfortably won her 400m semi-final in 51.06 seconds to reach Saturday's final.

The 24-year-old Briton is the fastest woman in the world this year and is expected to do well over the two-lap race in Birmingham.

"I felt nice and relaxed and I'm really pleased," Sanders told BBC Sport. "I've got to be confident for Saturday because it's all going to plan."

Emma Duck was not able to get beyond the semis, finishing fifth in the first semi in 53.02.

Proceedings were held up in Birmingham when British 800m runner Karen Harewood suffered a suspected broken leg after she was clipped on her ankles by Russian Mariya Shapayeva in the second heat.

Harewood, Portugal's Maria Carmo Tavares and Greece's Eleni Filandra all tumbled to the track but Harewood, 31, had to be carried off after a lengthy delay.

There were no problems for Marilyn Okoro or Jenny Meadows as they went through to Saturday's semi-finals.

In the 1500m, Helen Clitheroe made the final with her usual consistency, going through in four minutes 10.96 seconds.

Amy Harris failed to reach Saturday's women's long jump final on her senior debut for the British team.

The 19-year-old landed 6.39m with her first attempt but failed to improve on that. Portugal's Naide Gomes led qualifying with a leap of 6.68m.

Colin Jackson column
01 Mar 07 |  Athletics


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