Nafi Thiam takes charge in heptathlon battle at European Championships

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It was billed arsenic nan conflict of nan titans, a showdown betwixt nan 2 top female multisport athletes of nan age. But aft 2 events Britain’s double world heptathlon Katarina Johnson-Thompson looks connected nan ropes astatine these European Athletics Championships, pinch nan Olympic champion Nafi Thiam starring her by 143 points.

No 1 knew what to expect from the 29-year-old Thiam, fixed that she had not competed since 2022 owed to a superior Achilles injury. But aft a blimpish effort successful nan 100m hurdles, wherever she ran 13.74sec to people 1015 points, nan Belgian made an emphatic move successful nan precocious jump pinch first-time clearances astatine each tallness from 1.80m to 1.95m to people different 1171 points.

That put Thiam successful nan lead pinch 2186 points, 108 up of her compatriot Noor Vidts successful second. Meanwhile Johnson-Thompson was backmost successful 4th spot connected 2043 points, aft moving 13.66 successful nan 100m hurdles – much than half a 2nd disconnected her champion – and clearing conscionable 1.83m successful nan precocious jump, 15cm beneath her grounds from 2016.

There are still 5 events to go, and some women are focusing predominantly connected getting into style for Paris. However Thiam is apt to widen her lead successful nan 3rd event, nan changeable put, later this day – though Johnson-Thompson has nan overmuch amended 200m which takes spot this evening.

On nan opening greeting of these championships, location was amended news for Britain arsenic Jemma Reekie, Georgia Bell and Katie Snowden each qualified for Sunday’s last of nan 1500m. However, while Bell looked awesome successful finishing second, she revealed afterwards it wasn’t truthful simple. “Someone’s spikes went correct done my shoe,” she said. “They’ve wholly fallen apart. It was a spot messy but I’m done to nan last connected Sunday. That’s nan astir important thing.”

British brace Georgia Bell and Katie Snowden successful action during their heat.
British brace Georgia Bell and Katie Snowden successful action during their heat. Photograph: Aleksandra Szmigiel/Reuters

Meanwhile, 1 British jock will beryllium looking to further rebuild her profession connected Saturday. In 2019, Amy Hunt appeared to beryllium a 17 twelvemonth aged who had it all. On nan way she shattered nan women’s 200m under-18 world grounds successful 22.42sec – a clip which would person won a bronze badge astatine nan elder world championships successful Doha that aforesaid year. While disconnected it, she sewage into Cambridge University to study English.

At nan clip it didn’t look outlandish for Vogue to foretell that she would beryllium 1 of nan “faces to specify nan decade”. But past injuries - and nan accent of burning nan candle astatine some ends – led Hunt to fearfulness that she would ne'er get backmost to her best.

Things sewage truthful bad that her mum had to assistance her into nan ablution because she was incapable to crook her knee, but aft 5 years – and awesome room – Hunt tin yet spot a way back.

“The wounded was truthful traumatic it killed disconnected a batch of my nerves successful nan area truthful it took a while to get that back,” she says. “There were decidedly points past twelvemonth erstwhile I was successful nan trenches, finishing my grade and reasoning if I ever get back.”

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But nan time aft graduating past summertime she flew to Padova successful Italy to train nether Marco Airale and specified has been her advancement since that a badge successful nan women’s 100m and 4x100m relay present successful Rome is not beyond her.

“I graduated from Cambridge and nan adjacent time sewage up astatine 2am, flew complete to Padova and that was it. From that constituent onwards everything has been going so, truthful well. It’s amazing. I spell to Venice each week, life is beautiful good.

“I’m still very overmuch getting utilized to handling my caller body, caller training and caller method I’ve accessed nether nan caller setup. But nan 100m is specified an unpredictable event, thing tin happen.”

Source theguardian