14 MAR 2003 General News

Women Pentathlon Event Five

Carolina Kluft today not only lifted her first world senior title, but shattered the championship best performance, adding nearly 400pts to her lifetime best as she scored a total of 4933 after giving her all in the final discipline, the 800m, in pursuit of the world record here at the 9th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

Kluft, the IAAF World Junior champion and record-holder, needed to run better than 2:11.45 to break the 1992 world best mark of Irina Belova. Off the back of four personal bests in the sprint hurdles, high jump, shot and long jump, Kluft set off with the intent of setting a fifth, leading her six remaining rivals through the laps in 31.87, 1:05.67.

But by the time she reached the bell in 1:41.44, the fatigue of the day's exertions had caught up with Kluft somewhat better than her rivals, as Marie Collonville, of France, loomed up beside her. Kluft responded, and followed Collonville home in 2:15.58 to the Frenchwoman's 2:15.06.

It gave Kluft 885pts for a final tally of 4933 - 83pts better than the championship record established two years ago by Natalya Sazanovich, of Belorus, the 1996 Olympic heptathlon silver medallist. Here, Sazanovich, despite finishing only seventh in the 800m, scored 4715 for another silver medal, as Collonville established a national record with her bronze medal-winning 4644, comfortably clear of her German rival, Sonja Kesselschlager.

"It was great fun," Kluft said, beaming with delight. "I love to compete." And it shows.