World Champs Women’s Heptathlon — KJT Finally Tops Her Nemesis

The hurdles was huge, as Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s PR gave her a big lead over favored Nafi Thiam from the get-go. (MARK SHEARMAN)

UNTIL DOHA, Katarina Johnson-Thompson hadn’t finished ahead of Nafi Thiam in a 7-eventer since the Briton won the ’14 Götzis meet, when the Belgian finished down in 5th. The last two WCs, the ’16 OG, last year’s Euros and two more encounters in the crucial Austrian multis meet have seen Thiam come out on top in the head-to-head contest with Thiam also taking the last three big international titles.

However, with Thiam slightly hampered—having not completely rehabbed from a right elbow injury picked up in Talence, the Briton picked her moment to excel with four PRs and although she finished just shy of the magical 7000-point mark, her tally of 6981 broke Jessica Ennis’ NR by 31 points from when the latter won the ’12 OG gold.

100 Hurdles
Kendell Williams was stunning over the barriers, the former world Junior (U20) 100H gold medalist producing the fastest ever opener in a WC 7-eventer, her 12.58 PR missing Ennis’ multis world best by just 0.04. In the heat before Johnson-Thompson and Thiam were drawn in adjacent lanes with KJT significantly lowering her lifetime best from 13.29 down to 13.09. The Belgian was well back at 13.36, although just 0.02 off her own PR.

High Jump
KJT had a 40-point advantage over the favorite after the hurdles and it stayed that way after two events when she and Thiam each cleared 6-4¾ (1.95) to equal the meet best in this discipline and move up to 1-2 in the overall standings. The two Americans, Erica Bougard and Williams, cleared 6-1¾ (1.86) and 5-9¾ (1.77) and were 3rd and 4th after two events.

Shot
KJT had a big PR in the shot, reaching 45-5¾ (13.86) for a 71cm improvement—although many commentators and sharp-eyed TV viewers queried the accuracy of her best mark noting it appeared about a foot shorter—but Thiam led the event after going close to her PR with 49-11¼ (15.22) to turn the tables and take a 51-point overall lead. A good effort of 47-10 (14.58) put by the third American Annie Kunz moved her into 3rd overall with Bougard and Williams dropping to 5th and 6th.

200 Meters
The late hour of the last event of Day 1, 21:00 local time, didn’t seem to faze KJT too badly and she sped to a time of 23.08, followed home in her heat by Williams who clocked 23.62. Thiam, never the best of sprinters over the furlong, only managed 24.60, giving the Briton a solid 96-point lead overnight, 4138–4042. After Day 1, Americans were placed 3-4-5 and just 15 points covered the trio: Williams 3855, Bougard 3853, Kunz 3840.

Long Jump
This was the event which saw the Briton start to sense that the title was within her grasp. A former world junior LJ champion, Johnson-Thompson extended her lead to 216 points, out-long jumping Thiam, 22-2½ (6.77) to 21-0 (6.40). The defending world champion owns a 22-6¼ (6.86) PR but had problems getting square on the board.
Williams, jumping 20-7¼ (6.28) in the 3rd round after two fouls, stayed in the bronze medal position.

Javelin
Thiam owns a javelin PR almost 57ft better than KJT but the inflamed tendons in her elbow came into play and she was over 10m off her 194-7 (59.32) best and passed her final throw after reaching only 157-7 (48.04). KJT, on the other hand, PRed by more than a meter at 144-1 (43.93), losing only 79 points from her lead. Williams had a solid effort at 148-0 (45.12) but found herself edged out of 3rd overall by Austria’s Verena Preiner who threw more than 5-feet further to move 21 points ahead of the American.

800 Meters
Buoyed by the knowledge that as one of the best multi-event exponents over 2 laps of the track, and with a PR over 7 seconds better than Thiam, KJT knew gold was as-good-as hers but she still poured it on to emphatically win this event—the first WC gold medalist to win this discipline—in a lifetime best 2:07.26. Thiam came home more than 10 seconds behind in 2:18.93 but was never seriously threatened for the silver medal. Preiner hung on for a surprise bronze—many people had touted the medal credentials of the second Austrian Ivona Dadic, who pulled up injured in the opening event—after finishing 2nd behind KJT in 2:08.88. Bougard finished 3rd in 2:09.74 to jump up 3 places to 4th, missing out on a medal by 90 points.

Said the delighted winner, “It doesn’t make sense to me. Honestly, these whole two days have been so fast, and it’s been at night time. It’s actually felt like a dream and the lights and everything. It’s just been unbelievable, and I can’t believe this is the result. It’s just been so many attempts to perform at this stage. I’m just so, so happy.”


WC WOMEN’S HEPTATHLON RESULTS

(October 02–03, with 800s on 04 as continuation)

1. Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GB) 6981 NR (WL) (6, 12 W; non-JJK: 5, 6 W)

(13.09 PR, 6-4¾/1.95, 45-5¾/13.86 PR, 23.08 [4138-1], 22-2½/6.77, 144-1/43.93 PR, 2:07.26 [2843]);

2. Nafi Thiam (Bel) 6677

(13.36, 6-4¾/1.95, 49-11¼/15.22, 24.60 [4042-2], 21-0/6.40, 157-7/48.04, 2:18.93 [2635]);

3. Verena Preiner (Aut) 6560

(13.25, 5-9¾/1.77, 46-7½/14.21, 23.96 [3821-6], 20-10½/6.36, 153-2/46.68, 2:08.88 [2739]);

4. Erica Bougard (US) 6470

(13.01, 6-1¼/1.86, 40-6¾/12.36, 23.89 [3853-4], 20-4½/6.21, 142-8/43.48, 2:09.74 [2617]);

5. Kendell Williams (US) 6415

(12.58, 5-9¾/1.77, 41-8½/12.71, 23.62 [3855-3], 20-7¼/6.28, 148-0/45.12, 2:17.54 [2560);

6. Nadine Broersen (Neth) 6392

(13.61, 6-0/1.83, 48-4¾/14.75, 25.28 [3755-8], 20-5/6.22, 165-4/50.41, 2:18.01 [2637]);

7. Emma Oosterwegel (Neth) 6250 PR

(13.65, 5-9¾/1.77, 44-11½/13.70, 25.10 [3621-15], 19-3¼/5.87, 177-2/54.01, 2:15.86 [2629);

8. Odile Ahouanwanou (Ben) 6210 NR

(13.45, 5-9¾/1.77, 46-4¼/14.13, 24.05 [3778-7], 19-8¼/6.00, 153-4/46.74, 2:22.89 [2432]);

9. Géraldine Ruckstuhl (Swi) 6159

(13.84, 5-7¼/1.71, 46-10¼/14.28, 25.21 [3549-17], 18-9¾/5.73, 181-7/55.35, 2:16.02 [2610]);

10. Yekaterina Voronina (Uzb) 6099

(14.64, 5-10¾/1.80, 44-9¾/13.66, 25.03 [3523-19], 19-1½/5.83, 169-3/51.60, 2:15.40 [2576]);

11. Hanne Maudens (Bel) 6088

(13.90, 5-7¼/1.71, 43-½/13.12, 23.81 [3594-16], 21-½/6.41, 118-10/36.22, 2:12.98 [2494]);

12. Chari Hawkins (US) 6073

(13.23, 5-9¾/1.77, 44-7/13.59, 24.81 [3702-11], 19-6¼/5.95, 131-5/40.07, 2:16.78 [2371]);

13. Annie Kunz (US) 6067

(13.27, 5-10¾/1.80, 47-10/14.58, 24.37 [3840-5], 19-6¼/5.95, 116-0/35.36, 2:20.68 [2227]);

14. Solène Ndama (Fra) 6034

(12.90, 5-7¼/1.71, 44-10¾/13.68, 24.34 [3728-9], 19-7½/5.98, 123-5/37.62, 2:18.75 [2306]);

15. Noor Vidts (Bel) 5989

(13.58, 5-9¾/1.77, 44-5½/13.55, 24.46 [3681-13], 20-½/6.11, 110-2/33.58, 2:15.94 [2308]);

16. Kateřina Cachová (CzR) 5987

(13.47, 5-8½/1.74, 41-3¼/12.58, 24.95 [3549-17], 19-0/5.79, 151-3/46.11, 2:16.85 [2438]);

… DNFs—

Anouk Vetter (Neth) 5540

(13.55, 5-8½/1.74, 46-3¼/14.10, 24.43 [3687-12], 20-4¼/6.20, 177-8/54.17, dnc)

Marthe Yasmine Koala (Bur) 5328

(13.05, 5-8½/1.74, 43-7/13.28, 24.29 [3719-10, 21-1½/6.44, 123-4/37.59, dnc)

Maria Huntington (Fin) 3681

(13.32, 6-0/1.83, 40-¾/12.21, 24.72 [3681-13], dnc)

Ivona Dadic (Aut) 0 (dq, dnc).

Heptathlon Leaders By Event

100 Hurdles
1. Williams 1189; 2. Ndama 1140; 3. Bougard 1123; 4. Koala 1117; 5. Johnson-Thompson 1111; 6. Hawkins 1090; 7. Preiner 1087; 8. Kunz 1084; 9. Huntington 1077; 10. Thiam 1071

High Jump
1. Johnson-Thompson 2282; 2. Thiam 2242; 3. Bougard 2177; 4. Williams 2130; 5. Huntington 2093; 6. Kunz 2062; 7. Broersen 2050; 8. Hawkins 2031; 9. Preiner 2028; 10. Koala 2020

Shot
1. Thiam 3118; 2. Johnson-Thompson 3067; 3. Kunz 2895; 4. Broersen 2894; 5. Bougard 2862; 6. Williams 2838; 7. Preiner 2836; 8. Ahouanwanou 2802; 9. Hawkins 2798; 10. Ndama 2780

200
1. Johnson-Thompson 4138; 2. Thiam 4042; 3. Williams 3855; 4. Bougard 3853; 5. Kunz 3840; 6. Preiner 3821; 7. Ahouanwanou 3778; 8. Broersen 3755; 9. Ndama 3728; 10. Koala 3719

Long Jump
1. Johnson-Thompson 5233; 2. Thiam 5017; 3. Williams 4792; 4. Preiner 4783; 5. Bougard 4768; 6. Koala 4707; 7. Kunz 4674; 8. Broersen 4673; 9. Ahouanwanou 4628; 10. Vetter 4599

Javelin
1. Johnson-Thompson 5976; 2. Thiam 5839; 3. Preiner 5579; 4. Williams 5558; 5. Broersen 5541; 6. Vetter 5540; 7. Bougard 5502; 8. Ahouanwanou 5425; 9. Oosterwegel 5369; 10. Koala 5328

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