On this day in 2006: Kelly Sotherton wins Commonwealth gold in Melbourne

PA Sport Staff
·2-min read

Kelly Sotherton won heptathlon gold at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne on this day in 2006.

Sotherton, then aged 29, claimed what proved the sole major title of her career to give England a fourth of six athletics golds at the Games.

After she saw her commanding lead after five events almost cut in half following a poor javelin display, fourth place in the final event, the 800 metres, was enough to seal overall victory.

Sotherton (left) was champion while the bronze medal went to England team-mate Jessica Ennis (right) (Gareth Copley/PA).
Sotherton (left) was champion while the bronze medal went to England team-mate Jessica Ennis (right) (Gareth Copley/PA).

She finished with 6,396 points, 98 ahead of Australian silver-medallist Kylie Wheeler, while Sotherton’s 20-year-old team-mate Jessica Ennis – who had been a point ahead of Wheeler heading into the 800m – took bronze with 6,269.

Despite becoming champion, Sotherton expressed unhappiness over her performance, particularly her showing in the javelin – her best of 32.04m was more than a metre down on the 33.09m which ultimately cost her a world championship bronze medal in Helsinki the previous year.

“At the moment I’m disappointed, not for gold but for my points total,” she said.

“I had a rubbish day today, my javelin is just getting worse. I have no words to describe how gutted I am at letting myself down.

Sotherton (second left) sealed victory after coming fourth in the 800 metres (Gareth Copley/PA).
Sotherton (second left) sealed victory after coming fourth in the 800 metres (Gareth Copley/PA).

“But when I stand on the top step of the podium and listen to the national anthem for the first time ever I think I’ll realise I have achieved something quite good today. I just wanted to win and get across the line to become Commonwealth champion.”

Sotherton had claimed heptathlon bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens – further bronzes were earned from the heptathlon at the Osaka 2007 World Championships and Beijing 2008 Olympics, and the 4x400m relay at the latter.

Sotherton, who announced her retirement in 2012, did not receive the Beijing medals until 2018, having been upgraded following disqualifications.