British athlete is on course to win European indoor gold and threaten world pentathlon best after three events in Glasgow
At the 2015 European Indoor Championships in Prague, Katarina Johnson-Thompson smashed Jessica Ennis-Hill’s British record to take pentathlon gold with a score of 5000 points. After a stellar junior career, it was a breakthrough performance as a senior athlete and saw her fall only 13 points short of Natallia Dobrynska’s world record.
Four years later, Johnson-Thompson is on her way to regaining the title and possibly breaking the Ukrainian’s global mark after a brilliant first three events in Glasgow on the opening morning of the 2019 European Indoor Championships.
On the eve of the event, the 26-year-old said she needed the presence of Olympic champion Nafi Thiam to bring out the best in her. But with the Belgian injured and absent, it did not seem to affect Johnson-Thompson either way as she found some of the best form of her life.
It began with 8.27 in the 60m hurdles to equal her season’s best. Johnson-Thompson wasn’t the only GB combined events athlete in form either as her younger team-mate Niamh Emerson clocked a PB of 8.54.
From there, it just got better and better. In the high jump Johnson-Thompson cleared 1.96m to equal the pentathlon high jump championship best. She even tried a UK record of 1.99m but it wasn’t to be at that height. Emerson, meanwhile, equalled her indoor best with 1.87m, which left Johnson-Thompson in pole position overall ahead of Laura Ikauniece of Latvia, with Emerson third.
In the shot, Johnson-Thompson added one centimetre to her outright shot put PB with 13.15m. Her previous indoor best was 12.68m, while her British record-breaking pentathlon in Prague saw her throw only 12.32m.
Terrific start for @JohnsonThompson in the shot put!
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) March 1, 2019
Following suit, world under-20 champion Emerson threw a PB of 13.93m, which means the Brits are placed first and third as they go into the final two events – the long jump and 800m – on Friday evening.
Johnson-Thompson leads with 2989 from Solene Ndama of France on 2871 and Emerson on 2864, just ahead of Anouk Vetter of Netherlands, Ikauniece and Ivana Dadic of Austria.