Katarina Johnson-Thompson makes steady start in heptathlon at Tokyo 2020

The world champion suffered a serious Achilles injury last year but is in contention for a medal after the 100m hurdles and high jump.

Nick Mashiter
Wednesday 04 August 2021 04:42
Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson started her heptathlon campaign (Martin Rickett/PA)
Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson started her heptathlon campaign (Martin Rickett/PA)

Katarina Johnson-Thompson made a mixed start to the heptathlon at the Olympics but remains in contention for a medal.

The world champion has battled back from a ruptured Achilles she suffered in December and had downplayed her chances.

But she opened with a strong 100 metres hurdles, winning her heat in 13.27 seconds – her second fastest time ever.

Johnson-Thompson tries to keep cool during the heptathlon in Japan. (Martin Rickett/PA)

In the high jump she cleared 1.86m – 12cm off her personal best – but was pictured having treatment between jumps and failed at 1.89m to leave her with 2138 points after two events, ahead of the 200m and shot put on Wednesday afternoon.

Defending champion Nafi Thiam jumped 1.92m to move 38 points ahead of Johnson-Thompson and 19 points in front of second-placed Erica Bougard of the USA.

Andrew Pozzi made the Olympic 110m hurdles final for the first time in his career.

The world 60m champion finished fourth in his semi-final in 13.32secs and had to wait to see if he would qualify as one of the fastest losers.

He reached the semi-finals in Rio five years ago and the 29-year-old admitted it was a nervous time to see if he made it through to Thursday’s final.

Pozzi reached the 110m hurdles at the Olympics for the first time in his career. (Joe Giddens/PA)

“That wait was horrible, excruciating. It’s the first time I’ve had to go through that wait, hopefully it will be the last, and I’m so happy to make the final,” he said, although team-mate Dave King failed to progress.

“I feel like I’m growing in this competition, I felt much more comfortable on that run, and I’m really confident that tomorrow will be better again. I’m really happy to have the opportunity to do more.

“I was trying to get as level with the finish line as possible to try to figure it (qualification) out. It was close, there were a lot of people fighting for that spot, so it was very nervy.

“I’m happy to go again but let’s be clear, it will need to be better, and I feel confident that I’ll do that, so let’s move forward.

“It’s just trying to get some rounds in because the conditions are a little bit different, unfortunately in the heats yesterday because of a bumpy start and a couple of clashes of arms it was actually a really difficult race for me.

“I wasn’t able to find any rhythm, so today really felt like a bit of a first time out, so I’m confident that I’m going to feel much better again tomorrow and I’m going to have an opportunity to really show my best.”