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The local heroine flew through the air with the greatest of ease, but in the end the grace of Hrysopiyi Devetzi was not quite a match for the power of Françoise Mbango Etone in the women's triple jump.

The Cameroon athlete a silver medallist at two world championships and two Commonwealth Games deserved her success after stringing together five jumps over 15 metres.

Her winning leaps of 15.30m were just short of the Olympic record but 5cm further than Devetzi could achieve. She had peaked with perfect timing, given that her season's best prior to last night was a mere 14.85m.

Russian livewire Tatyana Lebedeva had to make do with the bronze and looked disappointed. Trecia Smith of Jamaica was edged out into fourth, in spite of also clearing 15m, a yardstick of excellence in the event.

With Ashia Hansen injured, British interest was restricted to watching the progress of Yamile Aldama, the former Cuban athlete who might have competed in Athens for Britain but ended up representing Sudan. Aldama, who tried in vain to gain a British passport from 2001-03, never touched her best here and finished fifth with a best jump of 14.99m.

With two Greeks in the final 15, local interest was strong. But Olga Vasdeki failed to make the cut after three rounds when the field was cut to eight. So the stage was left to Devetzi, who thrilled the crowd by floating out to 15.25m in the fourth round. Sadly for Greece, she was unable to summon up those all-important last 5cm.

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