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27 Sep 2000
Sydney 2000

Drechsler proves long-jumping class is permanent

It was hard to predict a winner in the women's long jump. Tatyana Kotova arrived in Australia on the back of some brilliant form, having won 10 of 11 contests in the run-up to these Games, but there were also three former world champions in the field: Russia's Ludmila Galkina, Italy's Fiona May and Germany's Heike Drechsler, who had won her first world championship title when competing as an 18-year-old some 17 years before.

Yet she reminded everyone of her class in the qualifying round with a leap of 6.84m, the longest of all the competitors. May, Galkina and Kotova also all qualified with some ease, setting up a grandstand final.

The early leader was May, who took the lead with a leap of 6.76m. It was a good jump, but few doubted that a jump of around 7m would be necessary to secure victory. And so it proved.

May went further in the second round, jumping 6.82m but it was the third round that was to prove decisive. May extended her mark once more, clearing 6.92m, but then Drechsler took to the runway. She jumped 6.99m, over 50cm further than she had gone in the first two rounds. Kotova moved into third after jumping 6.83m.

And that was how it finished. Even though there were three rounds left, the gold, silver and bronze positions remained the same for the second half of the contest, with nobody coming near to matching Drechsler's distance.

It was to be the final major competition of her magnificent career and it secured her the title of Germany's Sportswoman of the Year. She went on to work as a sports manager, and lend her support a number of charities.

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