Tia Hellebaut lands at 6.41m in the pentathlon long jump (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Valencia, Spain

Nearly a perfect day secures Hellebaut gold

Kelly Sotherton (GBR) made sure the fight for the Pentathlon gold was much closer than what the stats would show, but once again the Briton fell just short of an indoor gold medal. Sotherton’s excellent 800m effort ending with a huge personal best 2:09.95 was just short of the needed 7.7 seconds margin before Tia Hellebaut (BEL), who stumbled over the finish line 6.47 seconds behind Sotherton in 2:16.42 to take the gold medal. Hellebaut scored a world leading total of 4867 points, a season’s best and just 10 points short of her 2007 national record 4877p.

Sotherton was second with 4852 points and Anna Bogdanova (RUS) took a surprise bronze medal with 4753 points just edging Nataliya Dobrynska (UKR), who finished 4th  with 4742p. Austra Skujyte (LTU) dropped to 5th with 4655p  season’s best with Karolina Tyminska 6th (4580p) and Tatyana Chernova 7th (4543p). A big surprise in the competition was Lyudmyla Blonska lame performance which ended up with the 2006 World Indoor Champion finishing in 8th place with just 4474 total points.

The Belgian winner had a nearly perfect day. In the 60m Hurdles 8.54secs was only 0.1 seconds off her season’s best. The magnificent 1.99m result in the High Jump was a season’s best and the best ever result in Heptathlon or Pentathlon competition. In Shot Put Hellebaut reached a personal best 13.85m and 2:16.42 800m was a season’s best.

31-year-old Kelly Sotherton was again so close, but fell short once again. Sotherton has European Indoor Championships silvers from 2005 and 2007 behind Carolina Klüft (SWE) and bronze medals from Olympics Heptathlon in 2004 and World Championships 2007. The Briton had a good day which was maybe shadowed a bit by the 1.81m high jump performance – 1.84m clearance there would’ve given her the gold. One has to remember though that she only got a result in the Long Jump with her last effort and it was a very good result, a 6.45m season’s best. Her 4852 total points was the best ever score for second place at the World Indoor Championships

A real surprise medalist in the competition was 23-year-old Russian Anna Bogdanova. Although she has been around for a while, she only attended her first major championships in 2007 finishing 13th at the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham and 10th at the World Championships in Osaka. 2008 proves to be a much better year for Bogdanova, who has progressed a bit in all events during the indoor season only failing to reach personal best in high jump. Here the Russian only missed her personal best in pentathlon by a mere nine points to grab the bronze medal with 4753p.

Bogdanova’s total is also the best score for third place in the history of the World Indoor Championships and Nataliya Dobrynska’s 4742p was the best ever for 4th place and the first time a 4700p+ score was not enough for a medal. Furthermore also Austra Skujyte reached the best ever score for 6th place with 4655p and so did Karolina Tyminska for 6th place with 4580p. And it comes as no surprise that a new best was created for 7th and 8th places as well with Chernova’s 4543p and Blonska’s 4474p.

A best ever score for all places 2-7 and with only a competition record for the winning result missing it’s easy to say this was the best quality Pentathlon in the history of the World Indoors.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF

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