August 29, 2011 11:22
The World Athletics Championships in Daegu drew a coterie of top athletes, and Russian long jumper Darya Klishina (20) was one of them. Also known as the "Barbie doll" on the track for her stunning looks, Klishina was among the favorite medal contenders.
But her debut at a world-class sporting event ended in a disappointing seventh-place finish among 12 athletes after she managed only 6.50 m.
The gold medal went to American Brittney Reese (25), who jumped 6.82 m. But Klishina showed that she has plenty of potential to rise to the top.
Her debut in Daegu drew headlines. Fans who weren't familiar with her wondered if she was a model or an athlete. In the final competitions on Sunday, Klishina's popularity was put beyond any doubt. It marked the birth of a potential new rival to the hugely popular Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva (29).
Klishina is 1.80 m tall and weighs just 57 kg. She inherited her slender and athletic body from her parents, who were amateur track and field athletes. She switched to sprinting at the age of 13 after playing volleyball, but later turned to the long jump to take advantage of her leaping skills.
The Russian beauty appeared on the radar after claiming the gold medal at the World Youth Championships in Athletics in 2007, when she set a new record of 6.47 m. In March this year, she won the European Athletics Indoor Championships and in July she recorded her personal best of 7.05 m to rank second in the world.
Klishina has already become a sports icon in Russia due to her looks and sporting prowess.
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