Historic gold for Klüft

Home favourite Karolina Klüft lived up to her top billing at the European Championships in Gothenburg on Tuesday, crushing her rivals to win an historic gold in the heptathlon.

In posting a championship record 6,740 points, Klüft became the first Swede to defend a European gold.

“Emotionally, it’s my biggest gold,” said the Swede afterwards.

Klüft’s bid for victory was undoubtedly buoyed by the withdrawal of her chief challenger, Eunice Barber of France.

The current world and Olympic champion completed the seven disciplines in the gruelling event a massive 317pts ahead of silver medallist Karin Ruckstuhl of the Netherlands, while German Lilli Schwarzkopf won bronze three points further adrift.

In the second day of competition, Klüft recorded a best of 6.65m in the long jump in front of a large and vocal home crowd of 30,000, threw a fifth-best 46.94m in the javelin, and completed the 800m in 2min 14.95sec.

“It brought up so many feelings afterwards – I’ve had to fight so hard,” said Klüft, after being presented with her medal by Crown Princess Victoria.

The Local/AFP