Katarina Johnson-Thompson adds more than 200 points to her own British junior heptathlon record at the TNT Fortuna meeting in Kladno
Last month in Desenzano del Garda, Katarina Johnson-Thompson had a bittersweet breakthrough in the heptathlon. She added 220 points to her PB, breaking Jessica Ennis’s UK junior record in the process. But she fell 143 points shy of her main goal, the Olympic ‘A’ standard.
The Liverpool teenager had one more shot at gaining the required 6150 score last weekend at the TNT Fortuna meeting in the Czech city of Kladno to put herself in line for Olympic selection.
With PBs in four of the seven events – despite having to run into strong winds – Johnson-Thompson more than delivered, adding another 241 points to her personal best and surpassing the Olympic ‘A’ standard by almost 100 points.
Despite a strong headwind in the first event, the 100m hurdles, Johnson-Thompson improved her PB to 13.62. The -2.6m/s headwind suggests she’d be capable of a time in the region of 13.4 in better conditions.
The jumps events are usually the strongest for Johnson-Thompson, but it was in both the high jump and long jump where she was below-par on her last Olympic qualification attempt. That was not the case in Kladno, though as she cleared 1.86m in the high jump – the second-best jump of her career and her best ever within a heptathlon.
She followed it with a PB of 11.83m in the shot and ended the first day with a 23.88 clocking in the 200m – a performance which, given the -1.6m/s headwind, makes it intrinsically better than her 23.78 PB. With a score of 3729, Johnson-Thompson led overnight.
She maintained her lead in the first event of day two, posting the best mark of the day in the long jump with 6.41m, her best ever within a heptathlon. Having led since the second event, Johnson-Thompson finally surrendered her lead in the javelin, but was still on course for the Olympic ‘A’ standard.
To seal the deal, Johnson-Thompson threw a PB of 38.68m in the javelin before taking three seconds off her 800m best with a 2:14.56 clocking, bringing her points tally to 6248 – comfortably above the Olympic ‘A’ standard – to finish a close second to Eliska Klucinova of the Czech Republic (6283).
Johnson-Thompson’s performance ranks her 20th in the world for this season and seventh on the world junior all-time list, one place above world champion Tatyana Chernova. Since 1989, the only woman to score higher than Johnson-Thompson as a junior was Swedish superstar Carolina Kluft.
She is also the youngest Briton this year in possession of an Olympic ‘A’ standard in athletics and could be the youngest athlete on the team for London 2012.
After the competition, she tweeted: “SOOOO HAPPY! Got the Olympic A standard and a new PB, 6248!!! Can’t believe it!”
Commonwealth champion Louise Hazel had also been in pursuit of the Olympic ‘A’ standard, but a disappointing long jump of 5.76m – 68cm below her best – left her with too much to do and she withdrew before the final event.
The only other Briton with the ‘A’ standard in the heptathlon is world leader Jessica Ennis. Johnson-Thompson not only looks set to join her on the team, but could well be the heir to her throne in the not-too-distant future; the latest in a long line of successful British female combined eventers.