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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 August, 2003, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
Flawless Cloete wins high jump
South Africa's Hestrie Cloete
South Africa's Hestrie Cloete delivered a flawless performance to retain her high jump title at the World Championships.

The 25-year-old was untouchable as she soared to her winning height of 2.06m at the first attempt.

Russia's Marina Kuptsova cleared 2.00m to grab the silver medal ahead of European champion Kajsa Bergqvist.

The Swede went over the same height but she had more failures and so had to settle for bronze.

"I came here with every intention of defending my title," said Cloete.

"With all the pain you go through in training, you know that there will be a day that you will receive glory for it."

Cloete was in such hot form in Paris that she decided to attempt to break the world record, which has stood at 2.09m since 1987.

The South African failed at all three attempts at 2.10m but believes she is capable of setting a new mark.

"I honestly feel that 2.10m is within my reach," said Cloete.

"Both my head and my legs can do it. Maybe by the end of this year, or maybe next year, but I know I can get it."

Cloete's jump ranked her as the third best outdoor jumper in history and it also sealed a double for South Africa after Jacques Freitag won the men's event.

"I'm proud that South Africa won two gold medals here, and they were both in the high jump," said Cloete.

"It looks like we are coming back into the world of athletics."

The quality of the competition in Paris saw three athletes surpass 2m for the first time in a world final.

Cloete's leap was also a new national and Commonwealth record.

1. Hestrie Cloete (Rsa) 2.06m
2. Marina Kuptsova (Rus) 2.00
3. Kajsa Bergqvist (Swe) 2.00
4. Venelina Veneva (Bul) 1.98
5. Vita Palamar (Ukr) 1.95
6. Anna Chicherova (Rus) 1.95
7. Blanka Vlasic (Cro) 1.95
8. Juana Rosario Arrendel (Dom) 1.95
9. Viktoriya Styopina (Ukr) 1.90
Amy Acuff (USA) 1.90
11. Ruth Beitia (Spa) 1.90
Olga Kaliturina (Rus) 1.90

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