Kelly Sotherton has made a shocking announcement to Sky News earlier on that she is swapping back to her beloved heptathlon in an attempt to revive her dream of competing in the Olympics in London next summer.

Having endured a fruitless first season in the flat 400m, the 2004 Olympic bronze medallist has been convinced that her best chances are lying in the multi-events and admits that the first four weeks back into her more familiar multi-event regime have really rekindled the flame and hunger inside her.

Some shapshots of the memorable clashes between Karolina Kluft and Kelly Sotherton in the sounds of the Queen

Indeed, she never really looked happy and her trademark aggressiveness wasn’t there every time she stepped on the track to compete round the lap despite having shown competence and potential to do well, particularly back in the 2008 indoor season when she anchored a special laid-on triathlon against Karolina Kluft (SWE) to a 52.47 secs at the Norwich Union GP in Birmingham.

Later that year, she tore to a total PB of 52.19 secs for fifth in Gateshead and contributed a 50.35 second leg to the British relay in the final of the women’s 4x400m to bolster up her ranking as a potential future prospect over the distance.

Persisting injury problems condemned her to a long two seasons in the heptathlon twighlight and the 400m appeared as a lifeline to haul out into the hustle and bustle of athletics again, urged by UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commennee who was turning every stone to extend his options over the women’s long relay. On top of that, that was virtually her only way to extend her stay in the funding realm.

However, a stuttering string of outings peaking in a SB of 52.51 secs at Cottbus in late June saw her slip down to ninth in the UK lists this season and miss out on a relay spot for Britain in Daegu, while the imminent involvement of Shana Cox in the British affairs in earnest rendered her task even heavier going and drew her goal further beyond.

Which, in turn, may have dictated a radical change of plans and reverting to type, especially now that she lies no longer under the umbrella of the UK Athletics funding scheme.

The way of the heptathlon is simpler and more open as besides effective global number one Jessica Ennis and Commonwealth champion Louise Hazell there is a further vacant spot for the taking towards London. But is by no means strewn with roses.

An in-decent-form Sotherton ought to easily put away the Olympic A standard of 6150pts, a PB of 6547pts, and get a tight hold on that third place. At the moment, though, there is going to be a big question mark hanging over her jumping and throwing events while she may have to gain back some of the muscle she had to drop off so as to settle into the 400m last year.

What’s more, none should write off the chances of a breakthrough well over 6000pts from rising U20 star Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who performed well within herself in her PB of 5787pts in Tallinn, so there could emerge a battle for places behind Ennis as well.

But what matters at the moment is that the smile is restored on her face and the feel good factor has slotted back in place again which can take her a long way. Feeling happy where you operate is a first major step towards success in every department and can form an inexaustive source of strength and confidence to draw on all the way. Therefore, it could lay the platform to build up a fairytale return to the big stage for Kelly.

Incidentally, she has already dropped a hint about tackling her first heptathlon in about four years in May, apparently implying Gotzis as the venue of her multi-eventing return.

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