Katarina Johnson- Thompson warned Nafi Thiam she is ready to challenge her for more titles after claiming heptathlon silver at the European Championships.
The 25-year-old’s second place sparked a medal rush for Great Britain in Berlin yesterday with Matt Hudson-Smith taking gold in the 400 metres and Meghan Beesley bronze in the 400m hurdles.
Jake Wightman also claimed bronze in the 1,500m. Johnson-Thompson was only 57 points behind heptathlon champion Thiam, with the Belgian adding the crown to her world and Olympic titles. Johnson-Thompson, who won the World Indoor pentathlon title and the Commonwealth Games heptathlon earlier this year, recorded a personal best of 6,759 points and believes she can close the gap on dominant Thiam.
She said: “I feel like I can do it. I believe in myself and this is going to be good for me moving forwards. Up until this point, these championships, I wasn’t as confident as I am coming out of them. Obviously I had tougher opposition here. I was happy with my first two medals but this has a big significance factor for me especially given my build-up after the Commonwealth Games.”
A calf injury affected Johnson-Thompson’s European preparations, and she added: “It has taken a lot of work from a lot of different people to get me on the starting line today. With my preparation and my build-up, this has been one of my best performances ever.”
Holding an overnight lead of 87 points over world champion Thiam, she extended it to 113 after recording the biggest long jump of 6.68m. Thiam wrestled back control in the javelin to move 192 points clear after throwing 57.91m to Johnson-Thompson’s 42.16m, which for the Briton was a new personal best.
It set up a tense final 800m with Johnson-Thompson needing to finish 13 seconds ahead of Thiam. She clocked two minutes and 9.84 seconds to win but was only ten seconds in front of her rival. Afterwards, Hudson-Smith dominated the 400m to win in 44.78 seconds and Beesley took 400m hurdles bronze before Wightman’s third in the 1,500m.
Hudson-Smith said: “It’s a good feeling. The time doesn’t matter, that’s for the future. It was about winning and going on in the future. Times will come, I went for it and tried something new.”
Dina Asher-Smith’s treble bid continued as she reached the 200m final on Saturday with minimum fuss. The 22-year-old, who won the 100m on Tuesday and is the defending 200m champion, clocked 22.33 seconds in the semi-finals and is also aiming for the 4x100m title. Beth Dobbin and Bianca Williams also join her in the final.
Great Britain team-mate Laura Muir breezed into Sunday’s 1,500m final by winning her heat in the morning.
The Scot – the overwhelming favourite for the title – clocked four minutes and 9.12 seconds to win her heat in the morning.