World Athletics Championships: Katarina Johnson-Thompson well placed for heptathlon gold after day one

Katarina Johnson-Thompson
Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Great Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson is daring to dream of a heptathlon gold medal after an impressive first day at the World Championships.

The 26-year-old has 4,138 points and the overnight lead following the opening four events at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

She holds a 96-point advantage over Olympic and defending champion Nafi Thiam.

The pair remain a class above the rest of the field, with the United States' Kendell Williams in third, 187 points behind Thiam.

And Johnson-Thompson will allow herself to dream of victory overnight.

She said: "Why not? It's something that I'm aiming to do. It's something I'm in shape to do and I'm in a very good position to do it.

"But you never know with these things on day two. I've worked very hard on my day two so we'll see what happens.

"I know I'm in good shape and I can contend. I don't think 'I need to be in the lead by this many points'.

"Apart from the 200m it was a great day. It's just the halfway point, another day to negotiate tomorrow but I'm in a good position."

Johnson-Thompson, who came second to Thiam at last year's European Championships, excelled ahead of Thursday's long jump, javelin and 800m.

She posted two personal bests in the 100m hurdles and shot put.

The World Indoor pentathlon champion made the perfect start to kick-start her bid for gold with a huge lifetime best of 13.09 seconds in the 100m hurdles.

Johnson-Thompson appeared shocked by the time after winning her heat.

Her and Belgium's Thiam then went blow for blow in the high jump, with both finishing with clearances of 1.95m.

In the shot put, one of Johnson-Thompson's weaker events, she shone again to throw a personal best of 13.86m, to come second behind Thiam, who registered 15.22m.

In the 200m she clocked 23.08secs, a season's best, to win heat three.

Johnson-Thompson added: "That's a great day. It's a season's best in 200m, but obviously it isn't where it was in the last couple of years.

"It's obviously something I need to work on next year. There were PBs in other events so I'm over the moon."

On a night in which Dina Asher-Smith won gold for Great Britain (click here for the full story), Laura Muir safely qualified for Thursday's 1500m semi-final after her return from injury.

The 26-year-old was running her first competitive race since tearing a calf muscle at the Anniversary Games in London in July.

Holland's Sifan Hassan qualified fastest, with Hassan coached by Alberto Salazar.

The America was given a four-year ban on Tuesday by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after being found guilty of doping violations.

Salazar runs the Nike Oregon Project and was stripped of his accreditation so could not have any contact with his athletes but Muir chose to ignore the controversy.

"All I can do I focus on myself, that's all I'm in control of. I love the sport for what it is, I love to run and compete," she said.

"No matter what the circumstances I'm going to race. Whoever is there is up to other people.

"At this point all I can do is focus on myself, that's all I'm in control of. I'm the only person I can speak for and vouch for."

On her fitness Muir added: "It was a pretty good feeling, I was quite nervous before the race.

"I'm usually not for the heats but it's just been so long and it's so good to be out there, feel like myself and be like, 'oh, I can still run'."

Sarah McDonald joined her in the final but there was disappointment for Tim Duckworth who pulled out of the decathlon after an injury in the warm-up.

Reigning World Indoor 60m champion Andy Pozzi failed to progress to the 110m hurdles final but Eilish McColgan and Laura Weightman reached the 5000m final.

World Athletics links

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