Commonwealth Games: Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads heptathlon after day one

Katarina Johnson Thompson
Katarina Johnson-Thompson has returned to her hometown of Liverpool after coaching changes in France and Florida
Host: Birmingham Events: July 28th to August 8th
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England’s reigning champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson extended her lead to 109 points after four Commonwealth Games heptathlon events.

The 29-year-old, 2019 World Champion, started the evening session with a lead of 17 points.

But a season-best 12.94m shot put and a solid 23.70s in the 200m put her at 3765 points by the end of day one.

Northern Ireland’s Kate O’Connor leads the chase with 3656 points ahead of Australia’s Taneille Crase.

Johnson-Thompson’s England teammates Holly Mills and Jade O’Dowda are fourth and fifth with 3602 and 3582 points respectively.

With a long jump, javelin throw and 800 m, the competition, which is contested by a field of just eight people, ends on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Johnson-Thompson had led the high jump rankings by a distance of 1.84m after a stunning 13.83 seconds in the first 100m hurdles.

Johnson-Thompson’s 200-meter dash was also slightly off her personal best, but it was more than enough to put daylight between her and the rest of the competition.

The Liverpool native has endured a difficult three years since winning the world title in Doha, with injuries and managerial changes making it difficult to play at her best.

During Tuesday morning’s opening athletics session, England’s Keely Hodgkinson ran into herself but stayed away from the chasing group to win her 800m in 2:00.18.

Scotland’s Jemma Reekie got caught in traffic at the final corner, finished third behind Hodgkinson and retired from the competition after two fast heats.

“I was feeling good but I was completely thrown off from behind,” she told BBC Sport.

“It’s part of racing, so I can’t do anything about it.”

Reekie’s teammate Laura Muir, who is attempting the 800m and 1500m after her focus on the longer distance was rewarded with Olympic silver last year and World bronze last month, qualified second behind her 800m run behind Natoya Goule of Jamaica . England’s Alex Bell also moved up to third place.

Jamaica’s Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah was the fastest in the 100m at 10.99. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won the 100m at the last World Championships in Eugene, and Shericka Jackson, who took silver behind her, do not compete in the Commonwealths.

England’s Dina Asher-Smith was originally selected to run the 100m but withdrew from the games with hamstring problems at the end of July.

Daryll Neita, who finished eighth behind Thompson-Herah at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, was the fastest English qualifier in 11:02, while team-mates Imani Lansiquot and Asha Philip also came through. Welsh Hannah Brier and Scotland Alisha Rees joined them in Wednesday night’s semifinals.

England’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Ojie Edoburun, who replaced the injured Reece Prescod in the team last week, safely reached the men’s semifinals alongside Scotland’s Adam Thomas.

British champion Jeremiah Azu of Wales advanced but was the slowest of all home nations qualifiers at 10:35.

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