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UK Athletics

Sotherton, Hollman in Gotzis – Day 2

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Kelly Sotherton long jumps in Gotzis
Kelly Sotherton long jumps in Gotzis

Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield Harriers) finished seventh and Julie Hollman (Belgrave Harriers) 24th in the heptathlon at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis, Austria, on Sunday 27 May.


With Sotherton scoring 6210 points and Hollman 5681, Jessica Ennis (City of Sheffield AC) remains top of the UK rankings for this season with the UK Under 23 record total of 6388 she scored to win the first IAAF Combined Events Challenge of the season at Desenzano del Garda, Italy, on 5 and 6 May.


Carolina Kluft (Sweden) won the competition with 6681 points followed by Lyudmila Blonska (Ukraine), second with a lifetime best of 6626; Jennifer Oeser (Germany) third with 6366; Jessica Zelinka (Canada) fourth with 6343; Austra Skujyte (Lithuania) fifth with 6277; and Karin Ruckstuhl (Netherlands) sixth with 6260.


Sotherton had begun the second day in second place, and remained there with a long jump of 6.44m (to Kluft’s 6.62m).


But the Commonwealth champion’s javelin throw of 30.19m placed her 26th of the 27 throwers competing – and dropped her from second to eighth overall after six of the seven events.


Defiant as ever, she responded to the disappointment by finishing fourth in her 800m in 2:12.89. Kluft won the heat in her fastest yet, 2:10.86.


Hollman, 23rd overnight with 3414 points, long jumped 5.94m (wind: -0.7), threw the javelin 37.41m and ran 800m in 2:20.43.


Inevitably, the fiercest spotlight fell on Sotherton’s spear.


Her javelin coach, Mick Hill, commented: “I’m flabbergasted. I am disappointed for Kelly because she has worked hard to address the problem.


“All I am trying to do is give her the fundamental stuff. It’s very difficult for her to take it on board and do it in competition. It’s not for the want of trying, through. She has put a lot of time and effort in.


“She threw more than 30.19m with me at Loughborough on Monday. I expected with a little bit of nerves and adrenalin flowing, she would throw mid- or high-30s.


“Once we know what happened today and why, we can address it. But it’s a matter of doing hundreds and hundreds of throws properly; at the moment 30% are good and the rest are not.”


The head of Sotherton’s coaching team, UK Athletics Senior Performance Manager Aston Moore, pointed out: “The lead-up to this competition has not been ideal because of a number of injury scares. We have had to draw back from doing things that we would normally do, such as the Loughborough International last week.


“Given that this was her first competition since the indoor season, her jumps were reasonably good, she ran well despite the head winds but the disappointment was that, having spent time working on the javelin, we have still not yet seen the changes we have been looking for. I saw better throws in the warm-up than she threw in the competition.


“It was worth coming out here, though, because she needed to get the first competition out of the way.”


For the full Gotzis results please click here