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Johnson-Thompson drops to second in heptathlon with just 800m left

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Athletics European Championships
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Berlin. Dates: 7-12 August
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra plus the BBC Sport website with further coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson is second in the heptathlon in the European Championships in Berlin with only the 800 metres remaining.

Johnson-Thompson began day two with an 87-point lead over Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam and the Briton extended that to 113 points after the long jump.

However, Thiam, 23, impressed in the javelin to take a lead of 192 points.

She threw a championship record of 57.91m, while Johnson-Thompson, 25, set a new personal best of 42.16m.

After six of the seven events, Thiam has 5,984 points, Johnson-Thompson is on 5,792 and Germany’s Carolin Schafer is third with 5,704.

The competition concludes with the 800m at 19:36 BST as the Briton, who won the Commonwealth Games gold medal in April, aims to win her first medal at an outdoor European Championships.

She is on course to beat her personal best event tally of 6,691, which she set in Gotzis in Austria in May 2017.

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On Thursday, Johnson-Thompson recorded season’s best performances in two of the opening three events with a time of 13.34 seconds in the 100m hurdles and an effort of 13.09 metres in the shot put.

In the second event, the high jump, she cleared 1.91m to equal her best performance of 2018 and her leading long jump effort was only two centimetres off her best this year.

Can KJT snatch gold in final event?

Thiam, the reigning Olympic and world champion, holds a 192-point lead but her personal best for 800m is two minutes 15.24 seconds, compared to 2:07.64 for Johnson-Thompson.

With the athletes able to work out what they need to do in the final event to gain or protect a medal, the 800m can become very tactical.

Toni Minichiello, who coached Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill to world and Olympic gold, told BBC Sport: “Personal bests can be a little misleading here as heptathletes run to necessity rather than their maximum.

“Thiam didn’t run as fast as she could have at London 2017 because there was no necessity to do it. She produced 2.21, but is capable of 2.15.

“KJT has latched onto other people in the past and, if someone paces it for her, she is capable of running seven or eight seconds quicker than Thiam.

“A seven-second difference is worth just over 100 points.”

Britain impress in men’s relay

The British quartet of Cameron Chalmers, Dwayne Cowan, Rabih Yousif and Martyn Rooney set the best time from any European team this year in the men’s 4x400m relay. Their time of three minutes 01.62 seconds saw them qualify for Saturday’s final and Britain will also be able to call on 400m finalist Matthew Hudson-Smith in the final.

The women’s team of Zoey Clark, Finette Agyapong, Mary Abichi and Emily Diamond finished second in their heat to qualify for the women’s 4x400m relay final.

Britain’s Laura Muir and Laura Weightman both advanced to Sunday’s final in the women’s 1500m. Muir won her heat in a time of 4:09.12, while Weightman was second in her heat but recorded a faster time of 4:08.74.

Adam Hague produced a career best effort of 5.61m to qualify for the men’s pole vault final and Sophie Hitchon’s throw of 68.69m took her into the women’s hammer final, with both finals on Sunday.

Rosie Clarke came fourth in her heat to move into Sunday’s final of the women’s 3,000m steeplechase.

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BBC Sport – Athletics

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