Sport Review of the Year 2019
31 May 2020

Daley Thompson says KJT can become a British great

31 May 2020

Katarina Johnson-Thompson can become a British great, according to Daley Thompson.

The two-time Olympic decathlon champion believes heptathlete Johnson-Thompson can join the sporting heavyweights.

The 25-year-old won the world title in Doha last year and was all set to fight defending champion Nafi Thiam for Olympic gold in Tokyo this summer before the Games were postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Daley Thompson high jump (PA Archive)

She also won Commonwealth and World Indoors gold, along with European silver, in 2018.

“The trouble with trying to be an all-time great is you have to keep the success going. It’s not a one-off thing,” said Thompson, who won one World crown and two European decathlon titles.

“She will need to continue on the path she is going and win a few more things. We’ve had some great heptathletes – that is a very high bar – but she stands here now with the opportunity to do it.

“She should be able to join Mary Peters, Denise Lewis and Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Athletics – IAAF World Championships – Day One – Beijing National Stadium (PA Archive)

“It’s been a difficult one for her, she has got so much potential and she used to show a lot of flashes of all the stuff she can do.

“But going to France (to train) has helped her and sometimes it just takes a while to reach your full potential because your physical strength is much better than your mental strength.”

Johnson-Thompson toppled Thiam for the first time in Doha last October in what was expected to be a dress rehearsal for a showdown in Japan this year.

She won with a British record 6,981 points, beating 2017 champion Thiam by 304 points – and Thompson wants to see her maintain that level.

“If you are going to be the best in the world part of it is showing the consistency,” the 61-year-old told the PA news agency.

“There’s not a lot in it in age, Thiam will come back injury free next year and it’ll be a great competition, the best person will win and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be KJT.

“Hopefully she’ll continue to make those steps and become more consistent.

“The fear in the back of her mind is everyone is thinking maybe Thiam wasn’t at her best last year. Hopefully she can use that as a plus and think ‘now I can show everyone I can take her at her best.'”

Daley Thompson was speaking on behalf of Virgin Media and its new ‘Get Moving’ fitness TV channel which launches on Monday June 1.

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