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Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 13:50 UK

Sotherton's last chance - Lewis

Kelly Sotherton
Sotherton won bronze at the Athens Olympics in 2004

Heptathlete Kelly Sotherton must adopt a "now or never" approach to Beijing 2008, according to Denise Lewis.

Lewis, who won heptathlon gold at Sydney in 2000, believes Sotherton, 31, will not make it to London 2012.

"She'll be wanting to come back with a gold medal. She's got to seize the moment," Lewis told BBC Sport.

"As long as she stays injury-free she'll be fine. The event is wide open for her, she can go and change her life out there in Beijing."

Athens was very hard for me, it took my soul and was really hard to deal with

Denise Lewis on injury before the 2004 Olympics
Speaking at the launch of the EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon, Lewis added she "felt sick" when she heard another British hopeful, Jessica Ennis, would miss Beijing.

An ankle fracture forced Ennis, 22, to withdraw from an event in Austria in early June. She subsequently announced she would not compete at the Olympics.

"I was quite saddened by that. I really believe she could have got silver, if not the gold," said Lewis.

"She was in great shape, worked really hard on her throws, and I'm very disappointed for her.

Birmingham's half-marathon launch

"But she's young - younger than I was in the same position. For me, like Kelly Sotherton, it was now or never, but for Jess it's probably a sensible thing to drop out because she still has 2012."

Lewis won gold in Sydney despite considerable pain from calf and Achilles injuries, but a foot injury ruled her out of the Athens Games four years later.

"My Achilles could have given way at any second in Sydney," she said. "During the competition itself I just said to myself, 'Please let it hold out'.

"I've had the whole spectrum of emotion - elation to complete debilitation. Athens was very hard for me, it took my soul and was really hard to deal with. I didn't come off my bed for days.

"It takes a good couple of years to finally feel yourself again, and I felt sick when I heard Jess couldn't compete."

see also
Sotherton eyes up track for 2012
30 May 08 |  Athletics
Sotherton keen to try cycling
17 Mar 08 |  Athletics
Sotherton and Kwakye earn silvers
07 Mar 08 |  Athletics
Sotherton takes fine bronze
21 Aug 04 |  Athletics
Lewis pulls out of Olympics
21 Aug 04 |  Athletics
Team GB for Beijing
21 May 08 |  Team GB
Athletics on the BBC
28 May 08 |  Athletics

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