Barber tops rankings after two years away
ATTENTION - ADDS Barber quotes, CORRECTS spelling ofKluft in 2nd para ///

ARLES, France, June 8 (AFP) - France’s former worldchampion Eunice Barber posted a world-leading score inher first heptathlon for two years here on Sunday.
Barber, who has had a lean spell since winning the1999 world title, amassed 6,694 points to overtake the6,602 of Sweden’s Carolina Kluft, the event’s brightesttalent, in the 2003 rankings.
The 28-year-old Sierra Leone-born athlete, who withBritain’s Olympic champion Denise Lewis is aiming to winthe world title in Paris in August, beat LyudmilaBlonskaya of Ukraine and Kazakhstan’s Svetlana Kazaninainto second and third.
Barber opened with a cautious 100 metre hurdles in13.37sec on Saturday and she only took one attempt inthe long jump, recording an impressive 6.80 metres.
She said she might attempt a heptathlon/long jumpdouble at the worlds.
I needed to send a signal to Carolina Kluft. Here itis,'' said Barber. My result in the long jump wasmagnificent. It’s a long time since I wanted to competeat both events in a major championships. Maybe this willbe the year.’’
In the decathlon, the favourite Erki Nool pulled outafter no-heighting in the pole vault, allowing AleksandrPogorelov of Russia to win with a score of 8,072 points.


  1. Eunice Barber (FRA) 6,694 pts (100m hurdles:13.37sec, HJ: 1.88m, Shot: 13.99m, 200m: 24.31sec, LJ: 6.80m, Javelin: 46.92m,800m: 2:14.84), 2. Lyudmila Blonska (UKR) 6,418, 3.Svetlana Kazanina (KAZ) 5,996, 4. Larisa Netseporuk(EST) 5,895, 5. Nataliya Dobrynska (UKR) 5,877


  1. Aleksandr Pogorelov (RUS) 8,072 pts (100m:11.22sec, LJ: 7.57m, Shot: 15.28m, HJ: 2.11m, 400m 51.50sec, 110m hurdles:14.49sec, Discus: 44.31m, PV: 4.91m, Javelin: 59.42m, 1,500m: 4:57.10), 2. Haifeng Qi(CHN) 7,996, 3. Romain Barras (FRA) 7,966, 4. SebastienLevicq (FRA) 7,964, 5. Attila Zsivovsky (HUN) 7,923