Athletics: Hansen foot-perfect again

One Saturday afternoon in March Ashia Hansen settled down in front of the television at her home in Birmingham to watch the action from the World Indoor Championships in Budapest. It did not make the most pleasant of viewing.

One Saturday afternoon in March Ashia Hansen settled down in front of the television at her home in Birmingham to watch the action from the World Indoor Championships in Budapest. It did not make the most pleasant of viewing.

It was bad enough beholding the loss of her global title in absentia. Even worse was the sight of her world indoor record being equalled and then drastically revised not once but twice.

Such was Tatyana Lebed-eva's form that day, Hansen could have been excused for thinking her Olympic dream had been shattered, too. The Russian had, after all, stretched her improbably elastic legs out to distances of 15.25m and 15.36m - well beyond the 15.16m the Briton jumped at the European Indoor Championships in Val-encia in 1998, which remains her farthest, indoors or out.

Then again, half of the battle in the joint-jarring world of triple jumping is being in the physical shape to hop, step and jump - as Hansen knows only too well. Last year, having followed her Commonwealth Games and European Championship triumphs of 2002 with victory at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, the Birchfield Harrier underwent heel surgery and then suffered an Achilles tendon injury.

The world No 1 in 2002, she could only watch as Lebedeva struck gold at the outdoor World Championships in Paris. She returned to competition with an indoor win in Birmingham in February this year but decided to concentrate on getting herself ready for the outdoor Olympic season rather than defend her world indoor title in Budapest.

Four months on, Hansen is preparing to open her summer campaign on the first day of the European Cup in Bydgoszcz, Poland, next Saturday, happy with her fitness and training-track form. "I'm pretty much close to the shape I was in two years ago," she said. "Things have been going well."

As for Lebedeva, she is keeping her hopping and stepping under wraps - for the time being, at least. In Ostrava last Tuesday night the 27-year-old Volgograd woman showed that her jumping is in almost as fine fettle as it was in Budapest, where she followed her triple-jump success by taking gold in the long jump too. She was beaten in the long jump by her compatriot Tatyana Kotova, who won with 7.00m, but took second place ahead of Marion Jones with 6.91m - just 7cm shy of her best.

The rumour at track-side was that Lebedeva was carrying an injury that prevented her from triple jumping, and that she would be concentrating solely on the long jump in Athens. Not so, said her manager, Aivar Karotamm. "Tatyana does have a problem at the moment with her ankle, but it is not a big problem," he said. "She will be triple jumping next month and she will be doing both events at the Olympics: triple jump No 1, long jump No 2."

Hansen had expected to face Lebedeva in Bydgoszcz but, with only domestic events on the Briton's schedule after the European Cup, she is now unlikely to get a first-hand glimpse of the Olympic favourite's form until the gold medal is on the line.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'