12 FEB 2007 General News Gent, Belgium

Hellebaut produces fourth-best pentathlon score of all time with 4877 in Gent

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

Tia Hellebaut produced a strong pentathlon performance on Sunday (11) at the Belgian Indoor Championships 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. That score makes her 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, set in 2004, was 4589 and she set four indoor personal bests in yesterday’s assault.

She clocked 8.34 in the 60m hurdles, cleared 1.96m in the high jump – the best ever jump in a pentathlon – threw 13.62m in the shot, set a national indoor record of 6.42m in the long jump and clocked 2:15.13 in the 800m.

She started at 1.84m in the high jump and then continued with first-time clearances at 1.90m and 1.96m before going immediately up to 2.02m. Her second attempt was particularly close.

“I surprised myself again,” said Hellebaut. “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

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