Just at it looked like Nafissatou Thiam's domination of the major heptathlons could be coming to an end, the Belgian star responded in style this afternoon with a stunning javelin performance at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.
Thiam, the Olympic and world champion, was second behind Great Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson entering this penultimate event of the competition. With 4970 points, she was trailing the world indoor pentathlon champion by 113 points after the Brit led the long jump with 6.68m.
But she has now turned that 100-point deficit into a healthy lead after smashing the heptathlon championship best with a third round effort of 57.91m. It brought her 1014 points in a discipline which saw Johnson-Thompson land a lifetime best of 42.16m for 709 points.
With just the 800m left this evening, Thiam has a commanding lead over the Brit, with 5984 giving her a 192 points advantage. Johnson-Thompson is by far the faster 800m runner – 2:07.64 to Thiam's 2:15.24 – but that will still take some turning around in the heat of competition.
Thiam, who has a javelin lifetime best of 59.32m from the Gotzis Hypo-Meeting last year when she surpassed the 7000-point barrier, started with a modest 46.36m as Johnson-Thompson opened her account with a lifetime best of 42.16m but then when it really mattered, Thiam then produced a 53.55m throw before ending with her 57.91m.
The gold and silver medal positions look safe and Germany could end up with a bronze medal courtesy of Carolin Schafer, the silver medallist behind Thiam at the World Championships in London last August.
Schafer solidified her medal-winning prospects by improving her lifetime best in the javelin to 53.69m. She is third in the overall standings with 5704 points ahead of reigning champion Anouk Vetter from the Netherlands, fourth overall with 5629 points. While this gap is by no means insurmountable, Schafer is slightly faster in the 800m.