Sotherton on course for heptathlon gold in Beijing, despite injury

Olympic heptathlon favourite Kelly Sotherton will head to Beijing next week after an "encouraging weekend" which saw her win a four-event challenge at the London Grand Prix.

The 31-year-old bronze medallist at Athens four years ago, however, had to defy medical advice after sustaining a leg injury on the opening day Friday when the third barrier in the 100 metres hurdles was placed in the wrong position, the AFP reported.

Nevertheless, Sotherton produced a long jump personal best of 6.79m on the same day.

On Saturday she produced a solid shot putt effort of 14.36m and despite holding back, then managed second place over the 200m with a time of 23.63seconds.

That saw her easily win the challenge with an overall score of 3964 points ahead of Gi-Gi Johnson and Laurien Hoos who had tallies of 3813 and 3621pts.

"It was great to win this weekend," said Sotherton, who has been installed as favourite for heptathlon gold following the decision not to compete of Sweden's reigning champion Carolina Kluft and the withdrawal through injury of France's Eunice Barber.

"My jump was fantastic, the shot good as well and despite not being able to run as hard as I normally would round the bend in the 200m because of an injury I picked up in the hurdles, I still got close to a season's best.

"The hurdles yesterday were obviously very frustrating. I hurt my abductor muscle jumping that third hurdle and it could have been really serious.

"My doctor and physio both told me not to run today, but I wanted to run and to get that time when I couldn't go flat out is obviously encouraging.

"Overall I think the weekend has shown that I'm on the up and on course for Beijing."

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