Commonwealth Games: Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads day one of heptathlon title defence

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson in action on Tuesday  (Getty Images)
Katarina Johnson-Thompson in action on Tuesday (Getty Images)

Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads the heptathlon after the opening day following a season’s best in both the high jump and shot put.

It made amends for a sluggish start by the defending champion in the opening event at the Commonwealth Games, the 100-metre hurdles.

But after the first four events, she leads on 3765 points, more than 100 points clear of Northern Ireland’s Kate O’Connor in second on 3656 and Australian Taneille Crase third on 3604.

The field will round off the two days of action with the long jump, javelin and 800m for what is habitually a weaker second day for Johnson-Thompson

The 29-year-old’s progress since winning a first world title in Doha in 2019 has been curtailed by injury. A torn Achilles put her participation in the Tokyo Olympics in doubt and, although she took to the start line at those Games last summer, she pulled out midway through with a calf injury.

Johnson-Thompson admitted she had been struggling to return to her best in both the high jump and long jump, traditionally her best two events, in the wake of her Achilles issues.

But she came through the World Athletics Championships in Eugene a few days ago injury free having finished in eighth place.

Among her rivals for gold in Birmingham is English teammate Mills, who opted to forego the Worlds in order to focus solely on the Commonwealths. Mills had a strong start in the hurdles to move herself into second behind Crase as Johnson-Thompson was sluggish out of the blocks.

Commonwealth Games 2022: Best Pictures

England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson competes in the Women’s Heptathlon 100m Hurdles at Alexander Stadium (PA)
England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson competes in the Women’s Heptathlon 100m Hurdles at Alexander Stadium (PA)
Adam Peaty of Team England competes in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke Semi-Fina (Getty Images)
Adam Peaty of Team England competes in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke Semi-Fina (Getty Images)
Bryony Botha of New Zealand, left, tumbles over Meenakshi Meenakshi of India as they crash during the women’s 10km scratch race final during the Commonwealth Games track cycling at Lee Valley VeloPark in London (AP)
Bryony Botha of New Zealand, left, tumbles over Meenakshi Meenakshi of India as they crash during the women’s 10km scratch race final during the Commonwealth Games track cycling at Lee Valley VeloPark in London (AP)
Gold medallist England’s Laura Kenny celebrates on the podium after winning the women’s 10km scratch (REUTERS)
Gold medallist England’s Laura Kenny celebrates on the podium after winning the women’s 10km scratch (REUTERS)
Fiji’s Sevuloni Mocenacagi in action (REUTERS)
Fiji’s Sevuloni Mocenacagi in action (REUTERS)
England’s Craig Bowler during his match with Kieran Rollings against Australia’s Damien Delgado and Chris (REUTERS)
England’s Craig Bowler during his match with Kieran Rollings against Australia’s Damien Delgado and Chris (REUTERS)
Georgia Godwin of Team Australia competes during Women’s Uneven Bars Final (Getty Images)
Georgia Godwin of Team Australia competes during Women’s Uneven Bars Final (Getty Images)
England’s David Condon (R) jumps to block a shot from India’s Nilakanta Sharma during the Pool B hockey match between England and India (AFP via Getty Images)
England’s David Condon (R) jumps to block a shot from India’s Nilakanta Sharma during the Pool B hockey match between England and India (AFP via Getty Images)
Holly O’Shea of Team Gibraltar performs a snatch during Women’s 71kg - Final (Getty Images)
Holly O’Shea of Team Gibraltar performs a snatch during Women’s 71kg - Final (Getty Images)
Gold medallist Michaela Whitebooi of Team South Africa celebrates during the Judo Women - 48 kg medal ceremony (Getty Images)
Gold medallist Michaela Whitebooi of Team South Africa celebrates during the Judo Women - 48 kg medal ceremony (Getty Images)
Joelle King of New Zealand in action during her women’s quarter-final match against Lucy Turmel of England (Getty Images)
Joelle King of New Zealand in action during her women’s quarter-final match against Lucy Turmel of England (Getty Images)

Her time of 13.83seconds was three tenths of a second off her season’s best and some way off her all-time best of 13.09. It still gave her 1,003points with seven events remaining.

But she made amends in an up-and-down high jump competition. She needed three clearances at 1.81metres but made it over at the third attempt despite clipping the bar with her trailing leg.

The clearance and the reaction of a packed Alexander Stadium seemed to spark her into action and she went over 1.84m at the first time of asking. But she could not manage any higher, some way off her British record of 1.98m but a season’s best to more than double her points tally.

And there was a second season’s best in her opening throw of the shot put competition of 12.94m, which she could not improve on.

Hopes of a hat-trick of season’s bests in the 2022 were denied but her time of 23.70s was more than a second clear of the rest of the field to give her a commanding overnight lead.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting