Athletics Weekly | Katarina Johnson-Thompson on course for Euro medal and PB - Athletics Weekly
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Katarina Johnson-Thompson on course for Euro medal and PB

Katarina Johnson-Thompson on course for Euro medal and PB

Nafi Thiam leads the heptathlon ahead of Johnson-Thompson with one event to go, while a number of British athletes qualify for finals on Friday morning in Berlin

Katarina Johnson-Thompson looks sure of a silver medal and a PB after a great morning’s work in the heptathlon at the European Championships in Berlin, Steve Smythe reports.

Belgium’s Olympic and world champion Nafissatou Thiam has the lead with 5984 points, while Johnson-Thompson has 5792.

After leading overnight, Johnson-Thompson first extended her advantage in the fifth event – the long jump.

She started with a safe and solid 6.44m, which Thiam immediately bettered with a 6.45m. The Briton went for it with her second jump but it was a big foul way in excess of her best this year. Thiam also fouled but hers was marginal.

With her final jump, Johnson-Thompson got it right and a 6.68m gave her 1066 points

Thiam could not quite match the Briton this time but did jump 6.60m – just short of her 6.62m PB.

After five events, Johnson-Thompson (5083) held a 113-point lead over Thiam (4970), with Austria’s Ivona Dadic’s 6.35m putting her third (4805) and Germany’s Carolin Schafer (4772) fourth with a 6.24m leap.

There was little chance the Briton could retain the lead in the javelin but after Thiam started with a modest 46.36m, Johnson-Thompson threw a PB 42.16m and comfortably retained the overall lead.

That changed in the next round as Thiam launched the javelin out to 53.55m and with the Briton responding with 41.47m, the Belgian now had a lead of 107 points.

That left her just about within range of gold with only the 800m to go, with the Briton being vastly superior at that event, but in the next round of the javelin Thiam ensured the title with a brilliant championship record 57.91m throw which yielded 1014 points and took her lead up to 192 points – which equates to almost 14 seconds over two laps of the track.

Behind Thiam’s 5984 and Johnson-Thompson’s 5792, there is a big gap to Schafer on 5704, with the German throwing 53.73m.

Anouk Vetter moved up to fourth on 5629, with Dadic fifth on 5615 with a 47.42m throw.

Johnson-Thompson now only needs a 2:14 800m to beat her overall PB of 6691 points. Her 800m best is 2:07.64, while Thiam’s PB over two laps is 2:15.24.

Muir and Weightman make 1500m final

Laura Muir ran a 60.5 last lap to confirm her position as favourite for the 1500m as she won the first heat in 4:09.12 and looked very relaxed as she headed Ireland’s Ciara Mageean who ran 4:09.35 and Portugal’s Marta Pen (4:09.40).

“I just wanted to stay out of trouble and I did that, so yes I am happy,” said Muir. “I had plenty in hand, and was trying to qualify as comfortably as possible. I am not taking anything for granted and I am going to work as hard as I can on Sunday.”

Jemma Reekie, though, failed to make it through – finishing seventh in 4:10.35 and missing out on a fastest loser spot by just 0.21.

In the second heat, Laura Weightman ran a perfect race. Well-placed throughout, she then accelerated from the front over the last 300m. Her last lap was 63 seconds and she placed runner-up in 4:08.74 to fast-finishing Sofia Ennaoui of Poland who ran the fastest time overall of 4:08.60.

Weightman said: “It felt comfortable, I feel relaxed. I’m feeling strong so training has gone well and I’m excited for the final.”

Poland’s world record-holder and world and Olympic champion Anita Wlodarczyk predictably headed the hammer qualifiers with a 75.10m throw, though Hanna Skydan of Ukraine also impressed with a mark of 74.02m.

Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon was a long way from her best form and failed to make the necessary 70.00m automatic mark but she was 11th best with 68.69m, which got her through by just 35 centimetres.

“It was a little bit shaky but I’ve said before that there are no medals available in qualification, you have just got to make it through as part of that 12,” said the British record-holder. “I have got a day off and will come back on Sunday evening and hope to improve on today.”

In the women’s steeplechase, Rosie Clarke qualified with more in hand. She ran a sensible economical race at the back of the lead pack and finished fourth in 9:33.78 – less than two seconds outside her PB.

Switzerland’s Fabienne Schlumpf won the heat in 9:32.32, while Norwegian Karoline Grovdal won the other heat in 9:34.23. A time of 9:37.02 made the 12-woman final.

“Job done,” said Clarke. “I like to do it with as little stress as possible and that’s basically what I did. I didn’t realise I was just over a second outside my PB – it didn’t feel like it but it bodes well for the final.”

Britain’s women got through to the 4x400m final with plenty to spare as they averaged 52 seconds a lap and narrowly trailed Italy’s 3:27.63. Emily Diamond anchored the team to a time of 3:28.12, which was nearly four seconds up on Germany in third.

The women’s 200m qualifying was run without the four British competitors who have byes and there were impressive wins for Germany’s Laura Muller in 23.06 and Krystsina Tsimanouskaya of Belarus in a national under-23 record of 23.07.

Rooney anchors GB 4x400m to Euro lead

The British quartet of Cameron Chalmers, Dwayne Cowan, Rabah Yousif and Martyn Rooney set a European lead in winning their 4x400m relay qualifying heat,” Euan Crumley reports.

A time of 3:01.62 saw off a French team’s season’s best of 3:01.67, while Czech Republic produced a national record 3:02.52.

Belgium won heat two in 3:02.55 ahead of Italy’s 3:04.08 and Spain’s season’s best 3:04.62.

Three-time European pole vault champion Renaud Lavillenie comfortably qualified for the final, as did Swedish teenager Armand Duplantis, both clearing 5.61m at the first time of asking.

Britain’s Adam Hague matched that feat to secure a personal best in progressing, though his compatriot Charlie Myers didn’t make it through after his best of 5.36m.

Britain’s Nathan Douglas progressed in the triple jump with a season’s best of 16.56m (-0.9) in a qualifying session which was headed by Azerbaijan’s Alexis Copello thanks to his leap of 16.82m (+0.9), ahead of Spaniard Pablo Torrijos’ 16.79m (+1.6).

» Results can be found here, while a day-by-day guide to the upcoming action in Berlin is here. See the August 9 and 16 editions of AW magazine for coverage

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