Klüft declines to defend heptathlon title

Klüft declines to defend heptathlon title
Photo: Adam Ihse/Scanpix
Swedish champion Carolina Klüft said in an interview published on Wednesday she would not defend her heptathlon title at the Beijing Games this summer following injury problems.

“I understand that a lot of people will not understand the decision and will contest it but the motivation is not sufficiently there for the heptathlon,” Klüft told Svenska Dagbladet, adding she would still take part in the long jump and triple jump.

“The decision was tough and yet at the same time a simple one. I had been thinking about it for some time,” the 25-year-old explained.

“I had a chat with myself, and followed what my heart said,” she added.

“The triple jump is not my speciality. But I think it’s good to try out new disciplines,” Klüft said.

“I would never have changed if I didn’t believe in it and if I didn’t believe I could do very well in these disciplines,” Klüft added of her revised Beijing plans.

Last year she won an unprecedented third world championship crown but her recent fitness problems forced a rethink.

Klüft has dominated the multi-events scene, pocketing every title since winning the World Championship gold medal in 2003.

In the long jump her personal best is 6.85m – Galina Chistyakova set the world mark of 7.52m in 1988 – but the Swede could only manage 6.46m over the winter.

Nonetheless, Klüft, who was to expand on her decision later Wednesday at a press conference, explained her change of heart was providing motivation in itself.

“Now I am looking forward to something else and have rediscovered my motivation. It’s risky, I know, but it just seems so right,” said Klüft, who experienced an earlier injury heartbreak with thigh cramps which forced her to miss the 2006 worlds.

She won the pentathlon in her only indoor worlds in 2003.

Her only defeat in the combined events goes back to the 2002 European championships, when she placed third before winning continental indoor titles in 2005 and 2007.