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ATHLETICS: Lewis is happy with her return.

DENISE LEWIS could have taken the easy option and missed competing at the World Championships at the weekend.

But Britain's Olympic heptathlon champion felt it was time to step back on to the big stage once more after a combination of illness, injury and giving birth to her daughter kept her away from athletics since that magical performance in Sydney three years ago.

It was never going to be more than a stepping stone for Lewis on her long road to recovery, and the ultimate goal of successfully defending her crown in Athens next year and she could afford to be quietly satisfied with a steady performance overall which saw her finish in fifth place behind Swedish sensation Carolina Kluft.

Kluft became only the third woman to break through the 7,000-point barrier on her way to claiming the world title in the Stade de France.

"I am back in international competition - that's the biggest plus from the weekend," said Lewis.

"Knowing I wasn't in shape to challenge for medals I could have opted out and done a competition somewhere else, but I knew it would be better to come and feel what it is like again and test my own strength of character."

CAPTION(S):

BACK IN ACTION: Denise Lewis throws herself into the big time
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 25, 2003
Words:217
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