Belarus's Andrei Krauchanka celebrates after finishing first in the men's heptathlon event during the European athletics indoor championships.

Paris - Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus overcame an ankle injury to win the heptathlon title at the European indoor championships on Sunday with a total of 6 282 points.

Krauchanka was trailing three-time champion Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic by 31 points after the first day but claimed the gold medal with strong performances in pole vault, 60-meter hurdles and 1 000 meters.

Frenchman Nadir El Fassi took silver with 6 237 points ahead of Sebrle, who finished third with 6,178.

Krauchanka, who took silver in the decathlon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, fell to the floor after finishing fourth in the 1,000

meters -the final event of the combined discipline.

“I have to thank God because my leg was terrible today,” said Krauchanka, who injured his right ankle a month ago during training for the long jump.

“I'm also a warrior, like all decathletes, and I achieved a new personal best despite my injury.”

Sebrle, who was bidding for a fourth win after taking gold in 2002, '05 and '07, anxiously waited for the final results after finishing 8th in the 1 000 meters.

The former decathlon Olympic champion clinched both fists on finding out he had edged Eelco Sinticolaas of the Netherlands by three points for the bronze medal.

“I would not have been able to run one more meter,” Sebrle said. “I felt dead in the finish but it was worth it.”

Veteran middle distance runner Helen Clitheroe gave Britain its second gold medal, clocking 8:56.66 to narrowly win the 3 000

meters ahead of Russian Olesya Syreva and Lidia Chojecka of Poland.

The 37-year-old Clitheroe, who spent two months training in altitude in Kenya earlier this year, turned into the final straight with a comfortable lead but then had to resist a late charge from Syreva to clinch victory at the line by only three hundredths of a second.

It was Clitheroe's first major medal since her Commonwealth 1 500 meters bronze in 2002.

“All the way through I just tried to keep (my) concentration,” Clitheroe said. “It was only when I crossed the line that I thought 'Oh my gosh, I've won.”'

Adam Kszczot of Poland clocked 1:47.87 to lead Poland 1-2 in the men's 800 meters. Marcin Lewandowski took silver in 1:48.23 and Spain's Kevin Lopez was third, in 1:48.35. - Sapa-AP