J J Shobha displayed admirable grit as she battled a ligament injury to finish the gruelling women's heptathlon in 11th place at the Olympic Games in Athens on Saturday.
The Indian athlete carried on despite pain in her left knee to aggregate 6172 points. Compatriot Soma Biswas logged 5965 points and finished 24th.
The gold went to Carolina Kuft of Sweden, who got 6952 points, while Lithuanian Austra Skujyte (6435) clinched the silver, and Great Britian's Kelly Sotherton (6424) claimed the bronze.
Shobha came up with a very creditable performance, recording her personal best in four of the seven events as she finished eleventh in a field having 34 competitors.
Shobha's effort was just 39 points short of her National record of 6211 points, set at the tenth Federation Cup Athletics Championships in New Delhi in March this year.
What made her effort even more creditable was her gritty run in the final 800m event in spite of suffering an injury in the javelin throw, the penultimate event.
In fact, Shobha got off to a poor start in the race and was lagging in seventh place before she powered her way through to the third spot to finish in 2:17.28 and gain 861 points.
Shobha had collected 5311 points going into the final event and needed 901 in the 800m to break her own National record, but the injury put paid to any such hopes. She had to be stretchered off the field after the race.
Shobha, who finished 20th after four events on Friday, rose up the standings t the 12th spot after the day's first event - the long jump - and went a rung higher following another good performance in javelin, when tragedy struck.
As she hurled the spear to a distance of 44.36 metres in her first effort to record her personal best, the Karnataka girl was seen writhing in pain and could not take any further part in the event, raising fears that she would not be able to take part in the concluding 800m.
Biswas also shone in the 800m, the closing event of the two-day competition, to achieve a personal best timing of 2 minutes, 12.27 seconds and came first in heat one.
The 26-year-old eclipsed her previous best timing of two minutes, 13.20 seconds recorded at the inter-state meet in Chennai last month to obtain 932 points.
Earlier in the day, Biswas cleared 5.92m in the long jump to cull 825 points.
Shobha leapt 6.36m in long jump to take the second place in her heat and earned 962 points.
Biswas finished sixth in her group in javelin with a throw of 44.84m while Shobha was placed ninth with an attempt of 44.36m.
The table below gives the performance of the two Indians in the seven events of the heptathlon, listed in reverse chronological order.
|J J Shobha||Soma Biswas|
|Shot Put||12.52m =PB||696||12.01||662|
Note: PB stands for Personal Best, =PB stands for equals Personal Best.