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Anju George in long jump final

rediff.com Sportsdesk | August 29, 2003 01:01 IST

Anju Bobby George created history in Paris on Thursday when she became the first Indian to qualify for the final of the long jump event in the World Athletics Championships.

Anju Bobby GeorgeGeorge is also only the second Indian to qualify for the final of any event at the World Athletics Championships, after Neelam Jaswant Singh, who qualified for the final of the women's discus throw last Saturday. Singh, however, managed only the twelfth place in the final.

George cleared 6.59 metres on her first attempt, 6cm less than the qualifying mark of 6.65m and 15cm than her personal best, and fouled her second and third attempts, but still went through as one of the 12 best jumpers.

But heptathlon silver medallist Eunice Barber of France underlined why she is one of the favourites for this event, qualifying quite easily in George's Group B with a single jump of 6.78m. Barber's personal best is 7.01m.

The next best qualifier, also from Group B, was Lyudmila Galkina of Russia, world champion at Athens in 1997. She cleared 6.72m on her second attempt, after a rather poor 6.25m on her first. Galkina's personal best is 7.05m.

George was the third best jumper in this group. Close behind her was Olympic silver medallist Fiona May of Italy with 6.57m.

Valentina Gotovska of Latvia (6.56m), Tatyana Kotova of Russia (6.56m) and Grace Upshaw of the United States (6.55m) were the other three athletes to qualify from Group B.

In the other Group A, Olga Rublyova of Russia and Bronwyn Thompson of Australia were the only two to meet the qualifying mark, with the Russian exceeding it by a mere 2cm.

The others to qualify from this group were Jade Johnson of Great Britain (6.62m), Tünde Vaszi of Hungary (6.55m) and Concepción Montaner of Spain (6.53m).

Veteran Inessa Kravets, 37, of the Ukraine, triple jump gold medallist at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and triple jump world champion at Goteborg in 1995, forfeited her attempts on account of injury.

Photograph: Getty Images

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