Lewis throws down gauntlet with record

Denise Lewis could hardly have opened this Olympic season better. In her first competition of the season, the Briton broke her own three-year-old Commonwealth heptathlon record with a score of 6,831 points at the Decastar 2000 meeting here yesterday.

Denise Lewis could hardly have opened this Olympic season better. In her first competition of the season, the Briton broke her own three-year-old Commonwealth heptathlon record with a score of 6,831 points at the Decastar 2000 meeting here yesterday.

Lewis laid the foundation for the record on Saturday when she put herself 113 points ahead of where she was overnight when she set the previous record in Austria in June 1997. In the final event yesterday, the 800m, she needed to be quicker than 2min 18.90sec to improve her record, which she had set by running a personal best of 2:16.70 in Götzis. She crowned her weekend by 2min 12.20sec to beat her old record of 6,736 by 95 points.

"I came here with great expectations and they've been realised," said 27-year-old Lewis, who is determined to win gold in Sydney this September after finishing third at the 1996 Games.

A distant second to Lewis here yesterday was the Pole Ursula Wlodarczyck, who scored 6,351 points.

Lewis has clearly put a calf operation last autumn behind her along with a niggling shoulder injury, which kept her away from her specialist event all summer until this weekend. After the injury setbacks, Lewis did not have record-breaking in mind, she was intent only on doing her best. However, she did not have to face Eunice Barber, who beat her into second place at the World Championships in Seville last August. The Frenchwoman withdrew at the last minute from this event, citing a hamstring injury.

Barber, who will be Lewis's strongest rival for the gold in Syndey, might have feared what would happen. This was a tremendous performance by Lewis, who achieved her record-breaking performance by setting personal bests in five of the seven disciplines as she toiled in the burning sunshine in front of more than 10,000 spectators at the Stade De Thouars.

The Birchfield Harrier said: "What was important coming here was giving it everything I had and performing to the best of my ability. I think I did that particularly in the 800 where I needed to show competence and improve my confidence by producing a fast time. Overall I think I showed I'm in good shape and pedalling in the right direction towards the Olympics.

"I didn't really expect PBs. I expected to perform well and express myself by good performances in each event. That's what I always try to do in the heptathlon, and I achieved it again today."

On Saturday, Lewis, who now spends most of her time training in Amsterdam, had produced the best first-day performance of her career, 3,980 points from four events.She said: "I've been working really hard on my hurdling technique and I almost got it right."

Observers said it was perfect but Lewis commented: "I nicked the sixth and eighth ones but I kept my discipline, particularly in the closing stages. The pressure wasn't as great as it could have been and when I come up against some of the faster girls I know it will be harder to maintain the discipline. But it is something I am learning to do."

After the high jump, where she cleared a season's best of 1.84m, Lewis admitted: "I've spent so little time on it it has to be promising."

In the shot she managed 15.07m. "It's nice to know I can still throw over 15m when I need to," she said, adding that there were still technical problems to work upon.

Needing to run 25.22sec or faster to surpass her opening day performance in Götzis, she ran 24.01sec behind South Africa's Maralize Visser Fouche.

* Faulty drug tests in Britain's leading laboratory have led UK Sports, the body that oversees sports in Britain, to demand guarantees they will not be repeated. The chairman of UK Sports, Sir Rodney Walker, said that if the credibility of the King's College laboratory - Britain's only International Olympic Committee accredited laboratory - were to slip much further, UK Sport could start sending their athletes' urine samples to be tested in other countries.

News
news
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Sport
sport
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all