Katarina Johnson-Thompson: I’ve got my hunger back

Johnson-Thompson was never expected to defend her title.

By Press Association Published: 19 July 2022 - 4.34am

Katarina Johnson-Thompson insists she has rediscovered her hunger despite losing her world heptathlon title.

The 29-year-old finished eighth at the World Championships in Eugene as Nafi Thiam regained the crown she lost to Johnson-Thompson in 2019.

The British star earned 6222 points after two days of competition in Oregon with the Netherlands’ Anouk Vetter and the USA’s Anna Hall second and third respectively.

After an injury-hit 18 months and a late change of coach she was not expected to retain the title she won with a British record in Doha.

World Athletics Championships Oregon22 – Day Four – Eugene
Johnson-Thompson was unable to close the gap to the medals (Martin Rickett/PA)

It was also unrealistic to expect a podium challenge after serious calf and Achilles injuries and she finished 533 points behind the medal places but admits she has reignited the fire.

Johnson-Thompson said: “I love the sport. Last year set me back, life isn’t fair and I was questioning that. After the championships I wanted to take time away from the sport, I don’t want to do this, how can it be fair an Achilles can just rupture?

“This time I actually feel I’ve got my hunger back. I’ve been away from the championships but it’s like I want to put in the work and get back to where I was.

“As soon as I finished I took in the moment, it’s a different mentality. It’ll be motivation for me through the winter.”

After day one left her sixth, Johnson-Thompson said she was in Eugene to fight as she regains top fitness and confidence but a poor long jump of 6.28m pushed her further back to seventh after collecting 937 points.

A best effort of 39.18m in the javelin saw the Commonwealth Games champion lose further ground and she ran two minutes 19.16 seconds in the 800m.

She will now focus on defending her Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham.

“I’ve still got a heptathlon coming up in two weeks. The World Champs is next year, it’s only a year, I just need to get lots of training and hopefully I’ll be back up there,” she added.

Defending champion Dina Asher-Smith shook off her 100m disappointment from Sunday to reach the 200m semi-final.

The 26-year-old, looking to retain the title she won in Doha, ran 22.56 seconds less than 24 hours after coming fourth in the 100m final despite equalling her British record time of 10.83 seconds.

She said: “It’s part of the job (moving on from the 100m). It has been quite easy. They are two completely different events.

“Obviously I’d have loved to have been on the podium for the 100m but I did some really good runs and I am proud of that. This is a different event and you have got to come ready with your A game.”

Beth Dobbin ran 23.04 seconds and failed to progress. Great Britain skipper Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake reached the men’s 200m semi-final in 20.11 seconds along with Joe Ferguson but Adam Gemili missed out.

Earlier, Jess Piasecki came 10th in the marathon but Charlotte Purdue and Rose Harvey failed to finish.

Piasecki said: “I am happy initially to finish 12th in the world. Obviously I was higher up but in the last 7km, the wheels probably came off a little bit. But I gave it a real good go and I quite enjoyed it.”

Meanwhile, Holly Bradshaw is a doubt for the Commonwealth Games after she suffered a significant hamstring injury during a freak accident in Eugene.

Her pole snapped during her final practice jump forcing her to retire before the competition on Friday.

She wrote on Twitter: “I will be doing everything in my power to make it back in time for the Commonwealth Games but being only 2 weeks away this is not a small task.”

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