Klüft to compete at Euros despite falling short

Klüft to compete at Euros despite falling short
Swedish athlete Carolina Klüft will compete at the European Championships after being given a wild card despite falling short of the minimum qualification distance for the long jump competition at a meet in Karlstad on Thursday.

“It is so fun to compete, but so annoying that I can not be at the level that I would like to be,” Klüft said after Thursday’s meet.

The former Olympic heptathlon champion was roared on by a home crowd in Karlstad in southern Sweden, but the 27-year-old’s best jump of 6.34 metres was short of the 6.55m mark required to compete at the July 27th-August 1st event in Barcelona.

Klüft’s jump was enough to come in third on a rainy night in Karlstad and she remained upbeat after the event.

“It was a great atmosphere, this is athletics at its best. But as I have not been able to train I can’t expect to achieve great results.”

But despite Klüft’s disappointing result, the former golden girl of Swedish athletics, is set to compete in Barcelona next month after having been handed a wild card lifeline by Swedish coach Stefan Olsson.

“She will get a wild card and in my terminology that means she is given an opportunity to surprise and I think it suits her to compete from an underdog position,” Olsson said.

Klüft triumped in the heptathlon at the World Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and tasted Olympic success in 2004 but now focuses on the long jump.

Despite setting a Swedish record in the triple jump in 2008, Klüft has battled dips in form and injury since turning her hand to the individual events. She missed the 2009 World Championships in Berlin through injury.

Despite the tough years behind her, Klüft regularly insists that she does not regret her decision to give up the heptathlon insisting that her body has undergone a healing process.

“My old tired heptathlon body has had time to heal and a new long jumper’s body has started to take shape,” she said on Thursday before the meet.

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