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Kelly Sotherton: biography

Kelly Sotherton is a British athlete who has competed at two Olympic games and recently changed events from doing the Heptathlon to the 400m. Will she manage her aim of London 2012 in her new event?

Beginnings

Born on the Isle Of Wight in 1976, Kelly Jade Sotherton is a bit of an all round athlete. As a teenager she played netball for Hampshire as well as competing in the English Schools athletics championships Heptathlon and winning it twice. She eventually decided athletics was the route she wanted to take and concentrated more on the Heptathlon and in 1997 earned her first international vest competing in the U23 European Championships in Finland finishing 10th.

Career

In 2000 she moved to the Midlands to train with Denise Lewis (Sydney Olympics Gold Medalist). Two years later she made her senior GB debut and competed at the Commonwealth Games for England finishing 7th. In Athens 2004 she won bronze under the guidance of Charles Van Commenee who famously branded her "a wimp" for not finishing in 2nd place. In 2005 she went to the World Championships and competed in both Long Jump and the Heptathlon finishing out of the medals in both events. In 2008 she went to the Olympic Games in Beijing as one of the favourites to come home with the gold medal after injury ruled out Jessica Ennis and Katrina Kluft of Sweden decided to compete in just the Long Jump. Kelly could only manage 5th in the competition which was eventually upgraded to 4th after Lyudmila Blonska failed a drug test.
It was at Beijing that Kelly also showed a true talent for the 400m as part of the women’s 4 x 400m relay team finishing 5th overall. In 2010 Kelly announced her retirement from the Heptathlon to embark on a new event, the 400m and early 2011 during the indoor season she competed in the national championships coming away with Gold in her new event with a time of 53.46 seconds. London 2012 is only a year away but after her qualification for the final in the European indoor Championships this year many would tip Kelly to make the British team in her new event and turn some heads in the process.

Achievements

Kelly has some truly outstanding personal bests, many of which would stand up on a world class stage in their own right. 200 m 23.39 seconds
400 m (indoor) 52.47 seconds
800 m 2mins 07.94 seconds
100 m hurdles 13.18 seconds
High jump 1.87 meter
Long jump 6.79 meters
Shot put 14.66 meters
Javelin 40.81 meters
Pentathlon (indoor) 4927 points
Heptathlon 6547 points

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