World Athletics Championships: Katarina Johnson-Thompson confident of medal chances after injury hell

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Confident: Katarina Johnson-Thompson plotting medal haul  (Getty Images for World Athletics)
Confident: Katarina Johnson-Thompson plotting medal haul (Getty Images for World Athletics)

Katarina Johnson-Thompson believes she can get back into the medal mix at the upcoming World Athletics Championships after ending her injury nightmare.

The defending heptathlon world champion ruptured her Achilles to put her participation at the Tokyo Olympics in doubt and then suffered a calf injury forcing her out of the Games after just four events.

But Johnson-Thompson said: “I don’t want to just go to compete, I do want to be in the medal hunt. I’ve always had doubts over whether the championship me is going to come out but that’s just natural as an athlete.

“I’ve been working so hard, this is the longest run I’ve had with no injury leading into a championships for as long as I can remember. All of these things are good signs and I’m starting to get excited to compete. I feel like all these are good signs that I’m in a good place.”

In her sole heptathlon this year, Johnson-Thompson scored the third lowest points tally of her career – 6,174 and more than 800 below her personal best.

She has since parted company with Florida-based coach Petros Kyprianou at the end of last year following a previous split with Bertrand Valcin. She has now teamed up with Aston Moore, who will guide her at the Worlds and the subsequent Commonwealth Games.

Of that switch, she said: “Looking ahead to Paris [the Olympics in 2024], I wanted to make those decisions sooner rather than later. So, I made the decision to come back home and move forward without Petros, which is a shame. But, ultimately, I have to do what’s right for me and I believe this is what it is.

“My performance in Gotzis wasn’t a great score that I put out there. It was great that I finished a heptathlon completely healthy. I’m happy that I’m building something. I feel like I’m going into the Worlds in a better place than I was going into Gotzis and hopefully I’ll just let the championship me take over.”

She said she had focused heavily on both her speed work and her 800metres, while her shot put, traditionally her weakest event, had also improved. But she said getting back to her best in the jumping events – her strongest – has been hard since the Achilles injury.

“It’s difficult because the Achilles rupture was on my left foot which is my take-off leg for high jump and long jump,” she said. “The long jump is the main point in which I’m finding it difficult to get back to those long jumps which ultimately put a big together a big score for me.”

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