Katarina Johnson-Thompson lay in second place after day one of the prestigious Hypo-Meeting in Götzis, Austria, as Britain’s latest heptathlon star showed her Commonwealth Games credentials.
The 21-year-old was 15 points behind Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton after four of the seven events, on 3,923 points against her rival’s 3,938. In the absence of Jessica Ennis-Hill, the world championship silver medallist Theisen-Eaton is set to be Johnson-Thompson’s chief rival for gold in Glasgow this summer, with the Briton eyeing her first senior international title.
The Liverpool athlete opened her competition at this annual IAAF World Combined Events Challenge – the global multi-discipline event has a field which will be far stronger than the Commonwealths – with an impressive 100m hurdles time of 13.47sec into a headwind. She followed that with a 1.90m clearance in the high jump, 12.17m in the shot put – by far her weakest event – and a personal best of 22.89sec in the 200m.
Johnson-Thompson, who finished fifth at last year’s World Championships in Moscow before a brilliant indoor campaign this year, which included a long jump silver at the World Indoor Championships, was three points clear of Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam. They have the long jump, javelin and 800m to come today.
Britain’s 17-year-old heptathlete Morgan Lake produced, arguably, a more impressive first day, to lie eighth on 3,777 points. Lake posted a greatly improved personal best in the shot put of 14.85m, adding almost one and a half metres to her previous mark, and the 200m, in which she took clocked 24.59sec, taking close to half a second off her PB. The teenager had run 14.32sec for the 100m hurdles and cleared 1.87m in the high jump.
The Brownlee brothers and their rival Javier Gomez were beaten by Spain’s Mario Mola in an exciting world triathlon meeting in London. Mola pipped South Africa’s Richard Murray in a sprint finish in Hyde Park as Alistair Brownlee slipped back to fourth behind Joao Pereira of Portugal. Jonny Brownlee, beaten in dramatic fashion close to the line in last year’s event, had to settle for fifth, with 2013 winner Gomez – the man in form after three victories this season – in sixth place.
The event had been billed as a clash between the Brownlees and Gomez but, as it was held over the shorter sprint distance, other contenders came into play. Alistair Brownlee, the winner in London in 2009 and 2011 as well as at the 2012 Olympics, hit the front with less than two kilometres left. But Mola and Murray responded and wore him down. Murray seized control but it was Mola who had the greater finishing strength in the closing metres.
Brownlee said: “I was just going as hard as I could for that last kilometre, trying to put in attack after attack but it wasn’t good enough. They were still faster than me. I went as hard as I could. I thought that was the best thing to do but 100... 80 metres to go I just had nothing left.”