Sunday, 09 August 2009

Women's Heptathlon - PREVIEW

After a solid Day 2, Nataliya Dobrynska bounces back to take the Gotzis title  (Lorenzo Sampaolo)

After a solid Day 2, Nataliya Dobrynska bounces back to take the Gotzis title (Lorenzo Sampaolo)

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    • Jessica Ennis on the way to the national title in Birmingham
    Nataliya Dobrynska (UKR) was a clear winner in Beijing and the Ukrainian will be number one pick for the gold in Berlin as well. With Carolina Klüft (SWE), who has won the last two World Championships, out of the picture the top is much more wide open and a number of athletes could be thinking about winning the competition this time. Dobrynska scored a good 6558 total points to win the prestigious Götzis meet and is second in the world list behind Briton Jessica Ennis.

    Ennis leads the world with 6587 points scored in Desenzano del Garda in May. But Ennis, who was injured in 2008 and finished fourth in Osaka 2007, might be able to score considerably more. Since her only Heptathlon of the season, Ennis has set a few big personal bests including 12.81 in the 100m Hurdles, 6.43m in the Long Jump, 13.96m in the Shot Put and 46.47m in the Javelin Throw.

    Beijing silver medallist Hyleas Fountain (USA) did not finish her heptathlon at the US Championships and therefore isn’t competing in Berlin. Also absent is Osaka bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton (GBR) who has been hampered by injuries lately. Ukraine has two more athletes close to medal form, Hanna Melnychenko and Lyudmyla Yosypenko who both have scored more than 6400 points this season. Melnychenko competed at the Olympics finishing 14th but 24-year-old Yosypenko is entering her first major championships.

    Russians naturally have their say in the event as well. Olympic bronze medallist Tatyana Chernova has scored 6386 points in 2009, but will surely be looking for a higher score in Berlin. The 21-year-old was already one of the favourites in Osaka 2007, but could not live up to the expectations there failing from the first event on. But things did change for the better in Beijing where she fought for the silver until the last event and getting a bronze medal in the end.

    Aiga Grabuste (LAT) who set a big personal best and national record of 6396 points while winning the European U23 Championships in Kaunas, and 22-year-old Kamila Chudzik (POL) who has a best of 6378 points, are also names one should remember during the competition. Germans as usual have a strong team too with any of the three athletes capable of a medal on their best day. Jennifer Oeser leads the Germans having won with a personal best 6442 points in Ratingen. Lilli Schwarzkopf, who was seventh in Beijing, has a best of 6355 this summer while Julia Mächtig was fifth in Götzis with 6320 points.

    Mirko Jalava for the IAAF