Johnson-Thompson's family affair secures maiden global title
Athletics

Johnson-Thompson's family affair secures maiden global title

02 March 2018 / 21:13

All Katarina Johnson-Thompson ever wanted was for her family to watch her achieve something special. Now the world champion can finally say that box is emphatically ticked.

Arriving in Birmingham as pentathlon favourite was a tag the double Olympian hasn’t held often but, cantering down the home straight of the last 800m race, this looked like an occurrence that was far more habitual.

Either way, a place atop the podium with the gold medal around her neck was hers, Britain’s first of the Championships.

But for Johnson-Thompson this was also a first global gold medal, a potential breakthrough moment coming on the world indoor stage in front of home fans and family alike.

“I’ve dreamt of this for so long, to come here and win at my home Championships is something I dreamed of doing last summer [at London 2017], so I’m so happy I got to rectify it,” she said.

“It’s been a wobbly day but I’m so happy I got the opportunity to do this.

“All my family are here and that’s something that never normally happens, I went through a hard year last year and I just wanted my family to see me achieve something so I’m so happy they got to see it and were here for every event. It’s something that I still can’t believe.

“The beginning of last year was very difficult, I had to leave my two dogs at the hands of my mum [when moving to France] and they’ve got really fat!

“It’s lonely out there, not only have I left behind my family and friends but the language barrier is difficult as well, but it’s all worth it for nights like this.

“This is what I wanted, it’s not a personal best but what I wanted was to start winning medals, hopefully it can be the start of something.

“I’ve got the Commonwealth Games next month as well but it’s so nice to be able to get that first international competition win.”

 

The 4750 points amassed was a season’s best for the 25-year-old, though with a personal best of 5000 to her name, there is an encouraging amount still in the tank for the rest of the year.

Sixth after the opening 60m hurdles event – far from her favourite of the five – Johnson-Thompson took everything else in her stride in Birmingham, jumping 1.91 metres in the high jump to spring into first place.

Dipping to second after the shot put, despite an indoor personal best 12.68m, top spot was restored after the penultimate long jump saw her marked at 6.50m, taking a 33-point lead into the curtain-closing 800m.

In real terms that gave the former world indoor long jump silver medallist a two-second lead to defend, finishing in style to cross the line victorious, bringing home the home nation’s first gold medal of the Championships, adding to Laura Muir’s opening-day 3000m bronze.

Muir will be back in action on Saturday after qualifying for the 1500m final, though she won’t be joined by Eilish McColgan who missed out.

Eilidh Doyle and Zoey Clark will also be racing for medals, both safely through to the 400m final, though Asha Philip and Bianca Williams failed to qualify in the 60m sprint.

Sportsbeat 2018

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