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Melnychenko wins first heptathlon title

German Robert Harting claims third consecutive discus title at world championships as Ukrainian Melnichenko holds lead.

Last Modified: 13 Aug 2013 17:13
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Melnychenko's first global title came after a season's best performance in the javelin [GALLO/GETTY]

Ukraine's Ganna Melnichenko deprived Mr and Mrs Ashton Eaton of a famous multi-event double by claiming gold in the heptathlon at the World Athletics Championships on Tuesday.

The gruelling two-day event came down to the seventh and final event, the 800m, with Canada's Brianne Theisen Eaton, wife of newly-crowned world decathlon champion Ashton Eaton of the United States, handed a mighty ask.

The Canadian had to beat the Ukrainian by a margin of 4.69sec to claim gold at a packed Luzhniki Stadium.

It was not to be, however, as Melnichenko tracked Theisen Eaton around the strength-sapping 800m after the latter had shot to the front, tying up badly late in the race.

Melnichenko amassed a total of 6,586 points, a personal best, while Theisen Eaton claimed silver with 6,530pts and was comforted by Eaton trackside.

Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands took bronze in a Dutch record of 6,477pts.

In a competition missing Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hall of Britain and 2011 world champion Tatyana Chernova of Russia, the field was rightly considered an open one, with just two of the top eight at the London Olympics competing.

For that reason the margins remained small, with every height and distance keenly fought for in the tussle for a podium place.

Melnichenko's gold, her first at a global championships after finishing 14th at the Beijing Games and 10th in London, as well as sixth in the 2009 worlds, was largely down to a season's best of 41.87m in the penultimate event, the javelin, which handed her an invaluable 68pt lead.

Stripping off

Germany's Robert Harting won his third successive world discus title in impressive style on Tuesday when his 69.11 metre throw, the fourth-longest of the season, was too good for perennial runner-up Piotr Malachowski of Poland who took another silver.

Harting, also the Olympic and European champion and world runner-up in 2007, has been the most consistent performer all season but with Malachowski the only man to break 70 metres this year it was always likely to be close. 

The German set the early pace with a 68.13-metre second throw then, after clattering his third into the cage, launched his gold-winning fourth.

Malachowski responded strongly but his 68.36 was not enough and Harting, with the title in the bag, sent his final throw 68.08. Former world and Olympic champion Gerd Kanter of Estonia took the bronze with 65.19.

Harting then toyed with a mass of photographers waiting for his now-trademark celebration and duly delivered by ripping off his vest before starting his lap of honour.

419

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