Nana Djimou wins heptathlon gold with a personal best 6544 points
|France's Ida Antoinette Nana Djimou celebrates after winning the
heptathlon gold medal in Helsinki on Saturday.
Lyudmila Yosipenko of the Ukraine would have had to have beaten Nana Djimou by 11sec to have wrested victory from her, but she was never more than a second ahead. You don't let a title slip from your grasp that easily.
The night before in the mixed zone, Nana Djimou had declared: "I want the gold, nothing more." She was as good as her word.
So it was silver to Yosipenko and in bronze Latvia's Laura Ikauniece who defended her medal tenaciously with a personal best 2:12.82 to fend off any contenders breathing down her neck, including team-mate Aida Grabuste who also set career best figures.
In Goetzis in May Nana Djimou was almost 300 points down on today's record score. But this is championship athletics. Over the two days, she set three PBs over the hurdles, the long jump and the javelin and in her weaker event, the 800m, she set a season's best.
So to her European indoor pentathlon title, Nana Djimou has added the outdoor crown. Her points score places her fourth on the continental lists for the year and gives France its first gold (and medal of any kind) at this event since it was introduced into the programme in 1982. You have to go back to 1950 when the pentathlon was contested to find the previous French gold medallist.
Yosipenko's highest finish before was fifth in the world championships, while for Ikauniece it was her first senior medal of any kind at the age of 20.
“I´m very surprised that I got the bronze medal,” said Ikauniece.
“Yesterday was a better day for me. I got three personal bests.”
“It’s nice to hang a medal round your neck,” said Nana Djimou later, “but to get one in London would be nicer. It is good for me to be able to prove I can do something in a big championships. The other girls now fear me more and I have more confidence in myself.
“I can add another 200 points to that. I lost a lot of points in the shot.”
Last evening Nana Djimou was concerned about the long jump and with reason. In Goetzis where she finished 12th, Nana Djimou's long jump had been a more than modest 5.81.
However today was a different story and Nana Djimou slipped back into gold courtesy of a personal best jump of 6.42m.
Overnight leader Yosipenko could manage no better than 10th (6.14m) to go back to second, 42 points down on gold.
Bolshova had fallen down the rankings to fifth from being leader after a weak shot (12.36), but has gradually clawed her way back into medal contention.
Laura Ikauniece moved into medal contention with a throw of 47.32m.
Earlier on day one Yosipenko was sitting pretty in lead with 3785 points, riding on the back of a solid shot put 14.32 and an equally impressive 200m outing.
Check out a brief interview with Nana Djimou following her impressive win in Helsinki.