Austra Skujyte of Lithuania competes in the Women's Heptathlon Shot Put on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 in London (Getty Images) © Copyright
As expected, this event was topped by the seasoned Lithuanian, 32-year-old Austra Skujyte, who won the High Jump competition as well. The 2004 Olympics Heptathlon silver medallist was in the lead after two rounds with a 15.96m result, but that was nowhere near what she was hoping for.
But her last throw was something else landing at 17.31 metres, 2cm more than the previous Heptathlon World best set in the 2008 Olympics by the Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska. It wasn’t a personal best for the Shot Put specialist, but it is a season’s best (she has thrown 17.53 in the indoor Pentathlon in 2011). Skujyte is now clearly going for a second career Olympic medal as some others went downwards.
Skujyte now leads the Heptathlon after three events with 3126 total points, but Briton Jessica Ennis (3062 for 2nd) is expected to overtake her again for the lead in the last event of the first day, the 200 metres. Ennis was close to her best results with 14.28m in this event and although it was a bit less than she was hoping for, there weren’t many points lost and 7000 points is still a possibility.
There was some drama in the competition too as the reigning champion Dobrynska was trying a bit too hard in her first two attempts fouling them both and was then forced to just take a result, which was a 15.05m third throw, way below what she needed to stay in the fight for the medals and more than two metres less than what she achieved in Beijing on her way to the gold medal.
Tatyana Chernova is still the biggest favourite for the silver medal as she gained a few points in the Shot Put with a 14.17m season’s best result. Ida Antoinette Nana Djimou of France lost a little in the Shot Put, but the Frenchwoman, who won the European Championships in Helsinki earlier this summer, is 111 points ahead of her Helsinki score 6544 and is one of the athletes with her eyes set on the bronze medal after a 14.26m result.
German Lilli Schwarzkopf has started remarkably well and had a 14.77m season’s best in the third event and is going for a score well over 6500p at this time.
Fellow German Jennifer Oeser only missed her shot PB by 13cm reaching a 14.16m season’s best and is also in the medal fight. Russian Kristina Savitskaya again was a bit below her PB series with a 14.77m result, but is still very much in the medal contention as well and is in fourth place at the moment with 2930p. She is joined by Lyudmyla Yosypenko (UKR), who threw 13.90m and Jessica Zelinka (CAN), with a 14.81m season’s best with both athletes projected to reach 6500p here.
The next event will tell a lot about the possibilities for day two. Ennis is expected to lead after the fourth event and Dafne Schippers (NED), who ran 22.73 in her personal best Heptathlon this season, is expected to rise rapidly from the 15th place she currently holds, being a good long jumper as well.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF
2004 Men's Long Jump