KJT makes strong start in heptathlon; Hussong nears championship javelin record

Katarina Johnson-Thompson
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Katarina Johnson-Thompson made a strong start to her heptathlon campaign at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships

World and Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium and Great Britain’s world indoor pentathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson shared high jump honours in the second event of the heptathlon.

Both athletes cleared 1.91m in a competition that promises to be one of the highlights of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.

Thiam, who has jumped 2.01m this year, put her hands over her face and fell back into the landing mat after a third failure at 1.94, but the 25-year-old Brit – who holds the national record of 1.98m – was unable to capitalise on the fleeting opportunity.

Going into this evening’s third event - the shot put - Johnson-Thompson leads with 2193 points, 51 points clear of Thiam and 71 ahead of Katerina Cachova of the Czech Republic.

The 23-year-old Belgian had found herself in 14th position after the opening 100m hurdles, where she finished last in a heat won by Germany’s Louisa Grauvogel in 12.97 to take the overall first round lead with 1129 points.

A time of 13.69 – 0.35 off the personal best she had set in Gotzis last year – left her with 1023 points. Schafer and Johnson-Thompson ran 13.33 and 13.34 respectively to earn third and fourth place in the same heat and on the initial overall standings.

Hussong threatens championship record in javelin qualifying

Home thrower Christin Hussong rose to the occasion in javelin qualifying by progressing automatically with a personal best of 67.29m that was only 18 centimetres off the championship record set by Greece’s Mirela Manjani in Munich 2002.

Reigning champion Tatsiana Khaladovich from Belarus also made it through automatically but only with her third throw of 61.21m. Her best mark prior to that effort of 59.08m would not have sufficed to make it out of qualifying.

Serbia’s defending women’s long jump champion Ivana Spanovic was top qualifier for Saturday’s final as she reached 6.84m with her third attempt.

Britain’s Shara Proctor was second overall with 6.75m. Third place went to Germany’s Malaika Mihambo, who reached 6.71 to finish a centimetre ahead of second Briton Lorraine Ugen, leader of this season’s world list with 7.05m.  

The “Forza Daisy” flag was waving in earnest as Italy’s Daisy Osakue, only cleared to compete last Friday after being the victim of an alleged egg-throwing attack which left her with impaired vision, moved through to Saturday’s discus final with an automatic qualifying mark of 58.73m.

Throwing in the second group, Croatia’s reigning four-time champion Sandra Perkovic required a single throw of 64.54m to progress as top qualifier, with her main rival, home thrower Nadine Muller, second overall with 60.64m. Perkovic will be looking for an unprecedented fifth successive title in the final.

France’s world 800m champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, seeking to add another European medal to the bronze he earned in 2012, teetered on the brink of an early exit. Boxed in on the second lap, he stumbled halfway down the back straight but just kept his feet before taking the third automatic qualifying spot in 1:48.14.

By contrast Poland’s Adam Kszczot ran a model race to win his heat in the day’s fastest time of 1:46.31, ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 2015 world bronze medallist Amel Tuka, third fastest overall with 1:46.47.

Italy’s Paolo Dal Molin and Hassane Fofana headed the qualifiers in the 110m hurdles, recording personal bests of 13.40 and 13.50 respectively to join the seeded talents awaiting them in the semi-finals.