Countdown to Doha: Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson sets her sights on a 'magnificent seven'

Katarina Johnson-Thompson achieved her career best performance in Austria this year (PA Images)
Katarina Johnson-Thompson achieved her career best performance in Austria this year (PA Images)
8:03am, Thu 26 Sep 2019
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Katarina Johnson-Thompson is aiming for a 'magnificent seven' as she competes in the heptathlon in Doha.

The 26-year-old, who won silver at the European Championships last year, has the second highest score of any heptathlete in the world this year, a career best performance in Austria with 6,813 points.

In this instalment of our 'Countdown to Doha'  series, we look at her undeniable talent and her chance of landing the big one this time around.

Her talent is unquestioned

Ask any former or current heptathlete and they will all shower praise on Johnson-Thompson's ability.

Her all-round skills across a range of events such as the high jump, the 100 metre hurdles and the long jump give the impression things are very easy for her.

And if we take Johnson-Thompson’s best performance in each of the seven events of the heptathlon and put them together, we're looking at one of the best performances of all time.

If all her best performances were put together, she would achieve an all-time great performance

Adding all these points together would give her a total of 6,997 points and that would place her fourth in the all-time list for highest scores in heptathlon history. Even with supposed weaknesses in shot put and javelin, her strengths would more than compensate.

Progress was perhaps too quick

When Johnson-Thompson first burst onto the scene, people were amazed at her level of performance and she continued to improve from 2008 to 2014.

But then came a blip in 2015, when she suddenly lost her spark in the long jump at the World Championships and to compound matters further, she needed knee surgery later that year.

Apart from a blip in 2015, Johnson-Thompson's performances have always been on an upward trajectory

Her comeback in 2016 saw her back to her best and in the last few years, by winning medals at events like the Commonwealth Games, her confidence has returned.

A breakthrough on the world heptathlon stage is still to come and for many Doha represents the Liverpool-born athlete's  best opportunity.

Setbacks in past will add to experience

While there are no World Championship or Olympic medals to show, Johnson-Thompson has shown her prowess numerous times.

In the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, she was just points away from leader Jessica Ennis-Hill heading into the second day. But three fouls in the long jump ended her hopes of glory.

In Rio in 2016 she set a British high jump record of 1.98 metres, which would have actually been good enough to win the individual Olympic high jump gold medal.

Yet it was this event that let her down a year later in London as she failed to crack 1.86 metres and was left having to accept fifth place.

Having raised the bar, only time will tell if she can pull it off this time around.

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