'KJT' wins first Euro gold with all-round brilliance

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 06, 2015 12:53 PM

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the Briton with the talent to become the best all-round woman track and field athlete, just missed out on the pentathlon world record as she landed the first gold of the European Indoor Championships on Friday.

Johnson-Thompson, tipped to follow her compatriot Jessica Ennis-Hill as an Olympic heptathlon champion, became only the second woman to break the 5,000 point barrier for the one-day, five-discipline event.

The 22-year-old Liverpudlian, known as 'KJT', compiled a total of exactly 5,000 points but, despite running a personal best in the final 800 meters event, she finished 13 points shy of the world record held by Ukrainian Nataliya Dobrynska.

As she took gold by a huge margin of 304 points from Belgium's Nafissatou Thiam, Johnson-Thompson was fed up that her legs had betrayed her in her final solo push over the four laps following a long and tiring day.

She had needed to run 2 minutes 11.86 seconds to break Dobrynska's mark but had to settle for 2:12.78.

"I've been tearing my brains out these last couple of weeks thinking I could get the world record so to come so close, I'm disappointed," she told reporters.

"I'm feeling very emotional. Obviously, I'm happy to come away with my first senior championship gold, I've never done that before, so I've got to take the positives."

There were plenty of them in a dominant performance. She recorded a personal best 8.18 seconds in the 60 meters hurdles, a 1.95m high jump and a 6.89m leap which would have won six of the previous seven individual long jump titles at these championships. Her only weakness was her 12.35m shot put.

Ennis-Hill, who is coming back to the sport after a maternity break and whose rivalry with the young pretender looks set to provide a welcome boost for British athletics, was quick to congratulate Johnson-Thompson.

"Well done Kat!! Amazing performance! Sad to see my record go but couldn't have gone to a more deserving athlete!" she wrote on Twitter.

(Writing by Ian Chadband in London, editing by Ed Osmond)