12 FEB 2007 General News Gent, Belgium

Hellebaut produces fourth best all-time Pentathlon score with 4877 points in Gent

Tia Hellebaut clearing 2.00m (Patrick Van Gelder)Tia Hellebaut clearing 2.00m (Patrick Van Gelder) © Copyright

Tia Hellebaut, 28, produced a very strong performance on Sunday (11) in the Belgian Indoor Championships Pentathlon in Gent.

The European High Jump champion who was fifth in the Pentathlon at the 2004 World Indoor Championships in Budapest cruised to the fourth best performance ever with a total of 4877 points. That score makes here the third best woman on the world all-time list behind World record holder Irina Belova (4991) and Carolina Klüft (4948 and 4933).

Hellebaut’s previous national record was 4589 (2004) and she bettered all her personal bests in yesterday’s assault – 8.34 60m Hurdles; 1.96m High Jump (unofficial all-time best for an indoor Pentathlon); 13.62m Shot Put; 6.42m Long Jump (a new national record, beating her 6.36 - 9 Feb 2006 - and the same by Sandrine Hennart – 5 Feb 1995); 2:15.13 at 800m.

In the High Jump she started at 1.84, continued with 1.90m and 1.96m (on first attempts) and went immediately up to 2.02. Her second jump was very close.

“I surprised myself again,” Hellebaut said. “When I started with that time (8.34) in the hurdles I could hardly believe that I could run so fast (her previous personal best was 8.50). Something like 8.45 would have been OK. This was much better than I expected.”

“In the High Jump I took a calculated risk. With 2.02m I could earn 80 points more and when I see my total now, in that case I would have been the second best ever. The good jump at 2.02m in a rather dull atmosphere (there were no more than 200 spectators in the hall) gives me the confidence that I am on track for the High Jump in the summer.”

“I will not exaggerate the expectations for the Europeans in Birmingham, because I really had an ideal day with no weak parts.”

Ronny Ceuleers for the IAAF