Katarina Johnson-Thompson made it World Gold for Britain for the second night in a row taking the global heptathlon title with a national record total of 6981 points, running the 800m in 2:07.13, on Day 7 of the World Athletics Championships 2019 in Doha, Qatar.
Victory for the Briton crowns further history for British Athletics, and having waited four years for another female world champion, two came along in the space of 24 hours, following Dina Asher-Smith’s 200m title on Wednesday night. It also marks the very first time two British women have won titles in the same championships.
As the athletes walked out into the Khalifa International Stadium for the second day, Johnson-Thompson – without a world medal to her name – led out the competitors leading the competition overnight, with a 96-point advantage over rival and European, defending World and Olympic Champion Nafi Thiam.
With a pivotal long jump in the offing, the Briton nailed an 8.77m leap in her second jump, whilst Thiam could only manage 8.40m – well below par for the Belgian.
Knowing however, the troublesome javelin lay in store, Johnson-Thompson then threw a personal best of 49.93 – her third of the competition – to leave the Liverpudlian with one foot on the top step of the podium. Thiam, struggling with an elbow injury was then unable to complete her third throw and was forced to trudge off to effectively hand her rival the crown.
With Johnson-Thompson holding a 137-point lead, the Brit needed merely to ease around the final two laps of the track to complete the event, and did so also as an unofficial lap of honour, to be crowned World champion at the fourth time of asking.
Naser storms to 400m title
Salwa Eid Naser stormed to gold in the women’s 400m final, stunning Shaunae Miller-Uibo to take the world title in a time of 48.14, the third-fastest time in history ahead and destroying her personal best, with Shericka Jackson taking bronze with her own PB.
As the Bahrainian surged down the back straight and quickly overhauled Miller-Uibo before the final bend, Naser looked to have a commanding and unassailable lead, with the question remaining whether the Bahamian could come back in customary fashion on the home straight.
The Olympic champion went in pursuit down the final 100m and began closing the gap, but with the line in sight, the 21-year-old Bahrain athlete held on to her advantage to take a stunning world crown – to the shock and bemusement of all in attendance.
Kaul wins thrilling decathlon
In the men’s equivalent ten-event contest, Niklas Kaul was the surprise name to take the decathlon title, with the German taking advantage of a strong final run of events, pulling away to an in excess of the three-seconds need to win, with a total 8691.
With four men coming into the grueling 1500m to finish the two-day event with – defending champion Kevin Mayer forced to withdrawn with a hamstring injury – Kaul led by a matter of points after a plus-79m throw in the preceding javelin segment and surged ahead of the pack in the curtain-dropping race, to take the gold.
Macel Uibo – the the husband of beaten Miller-Uibo – took an equally surprising silver, with Canada’s Damian Warner walking away with another bronze to add to his collection from Rio 2016.
Muir into 1500m final; Brit male trio through
Laura Muir made an impressive statement finishing second in a stacked semi-final containing Jenny Simpson, Winnie Nanyondo and Gabriela Debues-Stafford to book her place in Saturday evening’s final.
Sifan Hassan – favourite to take her second gold in Doha – won the other semi’ and picked her time to surge to the front of the pack, with Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon and Rababe Arafi following the Dutch athlete home. Britain’s Sarah McDonald however, was run out of a qualifying place into sixth having led from the front.
As the men began their competition, Filip Ingrebritsen made the headlines after avoiding disqualification for a trip on Ethiopia’s Tedesse Lemi, who stumbled on the Norwegian’s clear out-stretched arm, during the middle part of the race and finished well down the field.
Brother Jakob Ingebrigtsen also made it, whilst a host of the other big names set to compete for medals in Matt Centrowitz, Ronald Musagala, Ayanleh Souleiman, Marcin Lewandowski and race favourite Timothy Cheruiyot all booked their places in Friday’s semi-finals. It was also a clean sweep for Britain’s middle-distance trio of Jake Wightman, Neil Gourley and Josh Kerr who all progressed.
The World Athletics Championships 2019 continue with Day 8 on Friday, as the men’s 1500m semi-finals begin at 6:05 pm UK time.
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