Torrence's double joy turns to dust

WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS: American sprinter is disqualified as Kravets raises triple jump standard
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The Independent Online
Those twin imposters, triumph and disaster, were dramatically evident here yesterday as Gwen Torrence was denied a sprint double through disqualification and Inessa Kravets produced another huge triple jump world record of 15.50 metres to follow Jonathan Edwards' efforts three days earlier. Indeed, just before setting her new mark, Kravets drew inspiration from a picture of Edwards that he had given her himself.

Torrence, who won the 100m on Monday night, appeared to have added the 200m title as well as she crossed the line first in 21.77sec. But the gold went to the 1993 winner, Merlene Ottey, when the American was adjudged to have stepped into Irina Privalova's lane entering the finishing straight.

"I had clearly beaten the others," Torrence said. "I know that deep in my heart but I am not going to let this spoil the rest of my life." It certainly spoiled her evening, however - she left the stadium in tears.

The Americans put in an appeal against the protest, but it was unanimously rejected by the jury. "She ran about two metres shorter than anyone else when she ran out of her lane, and that is cheating," said Ottey, who, at 36, was delighted to collect her 12th world championship medal.

Referring to the last World Championships, when judges ruled that she had been beaten in a photo-finish to the 100m by Gail Devers of the United States, she added: "Maybe there is some kind of justice working.''

Kravets, of Ukraine, became the first woman triple jumper to clear 50 feet, adding 41 centimetres to the previous mark held by Anna Biryukova - a bigger improvement than Edwards had managed by 10cm.

She explained afterwards that she took out the picture of the blessed Jonathan after fouling her first two jumps. Hey, bingo. Divine intervention.

Unlike the men's triple jump, yesterday's event was a hugely competitive affair, the finest since women's triple jumping was officially recognised five years ago.

Iva Prandazheva of Bulgaria responded to the record by jumping 15.18m, the second longest jump ever, to take the silver. Bronze went to the former world record holder, Anna Biryukova, who jumped immediately after Kravets's record and recorded 15.08, just a centimetre short of her best mark.

Kelly Holmes, so disappointed with her 1500m silver medal the previous night, nearly failed to come through her 800m heat. She lost the second automatic qualifying place in the final 10 metres, but went through on her time of 2min 00.23sec.

Ghada Shouaa, the Asian champion, won a first world gold for Syria in the heptathlon, finishing with 6,651 points in a competition from which the holder, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Heike Drechsler, had withdrawn. Denise Lewis, the Commonwealth champion, finished seventh with 6299, the best performance by a Briton.

The day began with blood and tears for Britain. Both belonged to Alison Wyeth, who had to drop out of her 5,000m heat after being spiked twice.

It was a serious injury, as Britain's team manager, Verona Elder, confirmed: "Her Achilles tendon was torn to shreds," she said. "I can't believe it," Wyeth said. "You train hard all year and suddenly its all over.'' Paula Radcliffe, keeping wide of any trouble, qualified safely, as did Sonia O'Sullivan. Portugal's newly installed 10,000m champion, Fernando Ribeiro, who had said she would not attempt the double, won her heat with ominous ease.

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