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Kelly's eye on history.

Kelly Rodmell is on track to make British history in a major international athletic championship when she goes for gold in Austria later this week.

The 20-year-old will be the first British woman to take part in the four-day International Runners Decathlon being held in Vienna starting on Thursday.

Kelly has her eye on a podium place in the competition which has been dominated throughout its 23-year history by German and Austrian athletes.

Runners decathlons have a huge following on the Continent and the competition will be fierce. But Kelly has targeted a points tally of more than 6,800 which would put her in the all-time top six.

The competition comprises 10 separate track events over four days including sprints, middle-distance events and culminating on the final day in the strenuous 10,000 metres.

"My goal in Vienna is to win but even that won't be enough," she said. "On my day I'm capable of breaking the 7,000 barrier which would put me in the elite of the sport."

Kelly is a business systems co-ordinator with Newcastle-based IFA network Positive Solutions and her employers provide sponsorship and support to help her train and compete.

Kelly, a member of Tynedale Harriers, is no stranger to success in international multi-events.

In Finland in 2003 she set a world record for the one-day double decathlon which combines 20 running, jumping and throwing events.

The following year in Melbourne she set a world record for the standard two-day double decathlon.

She also holds nine British records covering both the double decathlon and double heptathlon (14 track and field events) and a clutch of world and British records for her age group.

"One of the toughest tasks in Vienna will be the rest periods between events," says Kelly. "I am used to being on the go constantly and find competing easier than the waiting for the next event to start.

"Training through the winter has been hard due to colds and flu but so far my performances are as good as, if not better than, previous years which is giving me a great deal of confidence for Vienna."

Kelly's return to form follows a difficult season last year due to illness and minor injury, although she still took the World Junior Grand Prix title from the International Association of Ultra Multi-events (IAUM).

She has received a further boost by the recent news that the IAUM is organising a one-day double heptathlon in Finland in June, giving Kelly a shot at clinching another world record.

This will be followed by an appearance at the IAUM European Championships in Germany in July.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 22, 2006
Words:437
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