Ganna Melnichenko ruins Eaton duo's golden dreams

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.

Updated: August 14, 2013 08:49 IST
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Moscow: 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.

"I knew I could take the gold, but I just couldn't run any faster," said Theisen Eaton. "It was the hardest 800m in my life.

"I tried my hardest but I just didn't have enough energy to speed up at the end."

In a competition missing Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill 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.

"I realised I could win after the javelin. It has been my nemesis," said Melnichenko. "When I threw around 40 metres at the first attempt, I was over the moon. When I further improved, I believed that the gold could be mine."

Melnichenko had racked up 3,912 points overnight after clocking a competitive 13.29sec over the opening 100m hurdles on Monday and went on to clear 1.86m in the high jump, manage a best of 13.85m in the shot put and time 23.87sec in the 200m.

On Tuesday, she had amassed 5,619pts ahead of the 800m race, having jumped 6.49m in the long jump and managed a best of 41.87m in the javelin.

Schippers, second overnight, slipped to third behind Theisen Eaton, whose 45.64m in the javelin saw her move up to 5,551pts.

But Melnichenko's 2:09.85 around the 800m was enough for her to claim victory in the keenly-contested heptathlon that offered a great cut-and-thrust spectacle over two days.

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  • Dafne Schippers

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