20th August 2023
JOHNSON-THOMPSON THROWS JAVELIN PB TO LEAD HEPTATHLON ON DAY TWO
Katarina Johnson-Thompson (coach: Aston Moore, club: Liverpool) strengthened her grip on a heptathlon medal spot as six more Brits progressed on the second morning of World Championships action in Budapest.
An impressive morning in the field saw her head into tonight’s final event, the 800m, leading by 26 points from Anouk Vetter (NED) as she bids to retain the title she won in Doha in 2019.
In the long jump, she improved with every jump, notching a third round best of 6.54m (-0.1), putting another 1020 points on her tally and moving her top of the standings by 19 points from overnight leader, Anna Hall (USA).
In the penultimate event, Johnson-Thompson impressed as she sailed the javelin out to a lifetime best of 46.14m for 785 points, putting over a metre and a half onto her previous best and giving her a slender advantage ahead of tonight’s finale.
On the track, in the women’s 100m, Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie, Blackheath and Bromley) and Daryll Neita (Marco Airale, Cambridge Harriers) made safe progress into the semi-finals, but Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Ryan Freckleton, Sutton and District) did not progress after a false start.
Neita breezed away from the field after a rapid start, winding down in the closing stages to take second spot in 11.03s (0.0), while Asher-Smith made light work of qualifying, taking second in her heat in 11.04s (-0.8) after an initial false start.
Despite initially being disqualified for a false start in heat five, Lansiquot ran under protest finishing third in her heat for the last auto-qualifying spot but was subsequently disqualified for her earlier infringement.
Over one lap, Ama Pipi (Linford Christie, Enfield & Haringey) and Victoria Ohuruogu (Newham & Essex Beagles) booked their spots in the semi-finals, finishing second in their respective 400m heats.
In heat two, Pipi attacked the first 300m and put herself in the frame coming into the home straight. From lane nine, she moved through the gears in the last 50m to bag the second auto-qualifying spot in 50.81s.
Ohuruogu, running in the sixth and final heat, went out hard from lane two, taking chunks out of her rivals outside of her. She kept her form to the line, finishing second in 50.60s for second place.
Assessing her work, Ohuruogu said: “It was a well-timed run. Sometimes it can get in your head a little but because you are right on the inside away from everyone. I think I timed it quite well and I did just what I wanted with an auto-Q so I’m happy.
“I’m looking for a medal – I’ve got to aim big. Last year was about the final and people might say I was unrealistic, but I was a bit gutted with that, so I have clear aims this year, a medal being what I am aiming for.”
In the men’s equivalent, Matthew Hudson-Smith (Gary Evans, Birchfield) cemented his place in the semi-finals, running a season’s best 44.69s for second place.
In a stacked heat, the Birchfield man was out like a shot through the first half of the race and attacked the bend to put him in front heading into the home straight. He was able to relax into the final stages, taking 0.03s off his previous season best set in London last month.
Reflecting on his morning’s work, Hudson-Smith said: “I just wanted the qualifier and to get through to the semis as comfortably as possible, so I have got the job done. There is so much left in the tank but I know I’m going to have to fight.
“I’ve got both my legs back. Everyone keeps talking about Steve [Gardiner] and Wayde [van Niekerk] but I’m not here for participation, I’m here to get a medal. I’ve got both my legs back and I’m here to win.”
In the final action on the track, Tade Ojora (Joanna Hayes, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) capped his world championship debut by making the semi-finals, winning his heat in 13.32s (-0.9).
Despite a scrappy start that saw him clip the first two barriers, he regained his composure and showed his speed between the hurdles, dipping to finish in top spot and fifth fastest overall.
He said afterwards: “It’s my first time at worlds and it’s an amazing opportunity and it felt amazing to be running in this stadium with all these fans.
“I’ve dreamt of this and worked hard for this over the last few years, and I’ve achieved this so I have to try my best to get to the final and bring home a medal.
“The start wasn’t the best but my closing is usually pretty strong so I can always trust in my closing. But if I want to win then I have to get a good start so I’m going to work on that in the semis and the final. I don’t know what time I ran but I can go faster.”