World Indoor Championships 2018: Katarina Johnson-Thompson wins first global gold

Johnson-Thompson won the 800m to secure the title
World Indoor Athletics Championships
Venue: Arena Birmingham Dates: March 1-4
Coverage: BBC Two and red button, with updates on BBC Radio 5 live

Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson claimed her first global title with victory in the pentathlon at the World Indoor Athletics Championships.

The 25-year-old built on three solid events in Friday’s morning session by moving into first place with 6.50m to top the long-jump standings.

It afforded her around a two-second lead going into the final 800m event.

But Austria’s Ivona Dadic could not open up the margin, as Johnson-Thompson pulled clear to win the finale.

“I can’t believe it,” Johnson-Thompson told BBC Sport. “I’ve dreamed of this for so long. It’s been a wobbly day but I’m happy I got the opportunity.

“All my family are here which is something that never normally happens. I had a hard year at the end of the year last year so I’m so happy they got to witness it. I still can’t believe it really.”

The Liverpool Harrier hit the front with 300 metres to go of the 800m and when Dadic threatened during the final lap, she found enough to kick clear, clocking two minutes 16.63 seconds.

That result took her to 4750 points, with Dadic on 4,700 and Cuba’s Yorgelis Rodriguez on 4,637.

Leaving the dogs pays off for KJT

Johnson-Thompson led after the fourth event of five, where she jumped 6.50m on two occasions in the long-jump

Johnson-Thompson set an indoor personal best of 12.68m in the shot put after topping the high-jump standings with a 1.91m effort and delivering an 8.36 seconds season’s best over 60m hurdles.

It left her trailing Rodriguez by a single point, but the Cuban slipped to third with a poor long jump and Dadic became the Briton’s nearest challenger.

Rodriguez, Johnson-Thompson and Dadic finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively at last year’s outdoor World Championships, so were well aware of one another’s ability over the closing 800m.

Crucially, Johnson-Thompson – who relocated to France to change her coaching set-up in 2017 – boasted a quicker 800m PB than Dadic and she dealt with the pressure of the final event admirably to take the title.

“It’s been very difficult, especially the beginning of last year,” continued Johnson-Thompson. “I had to leave my two dogs with my mum. It’s lonely out there in France, the language barrier is difficult but it’s worth it for night’s like this.

“I know it’s not a PB but what I want is to start winning medals.”

‘Start of a medal haul’ – analysis

BBC Sport analyst Denise Lewis: She did what she had to do. She has improved as a rounded competitor. Today she was the Kat I wanted her to be. She was gutsy. I hope she believes this will be the springboard to a great season. She is doing the Commonwealth Games, she will do the Europeans and she could win a whole bag of medals.

London 2012 gold medallist and 2015 world champion long jumper Greg Rutherford: She has put some demons to bed there. Now that she has become a world champion it will make it easier to go into major championships and think ‘I can do this’. Across the board she had a pretty good day. She wasn’t exceptional, she got it done.

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BBC Sport – Sport