Klüft prepares for long jump podium bid

Sweden's Carolina Klüft will bid to break a second consecutive Russian podium sweep in the women's Olympic long jump, the heats for which take place on Tuesday.

Defending heptathlon champion Klüft opted out of the seven-discipline event the Beijing Games, instead entering the triple jump and long jump.

The Swede failed in her attempt to reach the triple jump final, the 25-year-old three-time world heptathlon champion finishing 20th in qualifying on Friday, with a best of 13.97 metres.

Klüft will seek consolation in the long jump, an event in which she finished 11th in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Four years ago, Tatyana Lebedeva led a Russian clean sweep of the medals four days after she finished third in the Triple Jump, what was thought to be her strongest event.

Lebedeva heads into the Beijing Games not only as the defending Olympic champion but also as the reigning World champion as she led yet another Russian sweep at last year’s World Championships in Osaka.

The Russians will be represented in Beijing by Lebedeva, Tatyana Kotova -who won bronze at the last two editions of the Olympic Games – and Oksana Udmurtova.

But the status of favourite this year belongs to former heptathlete and reigning World Indoor champion Naide Gomes.

The Portuguese jumper set recent national records of 7.04m in Stockholm and then 7.12m in her final pre-Games outing in Monaco.

Klüft is an outsider for the event, with her personal best of 6.97m dating back to 2004. But she could certainly be in the mix for a medal and has jumped a season’s best of 6.87m.

Brazil’s Maurren Higa Maggi, who was runner-up in Valencia this winter, is also among the potential medallists, her season’s best 6.99m being second only to Gomes in the entry lists for Beijing.