2023 World Championships: Katarina Johnson-Thompson wins stunning heptathlon gold

Katarina Johnson-Thompson wins a stunning heptathlon gold at the World Championships in Budapest completing a remarkable turnaround in her career.

The Briton, a two-time world champion, fears an injury could end her career just months after her 2019 victory.

But Johnson-Thompson, whose ruptured Achilles tendon four years ago marked the beginning of a difficult period, has rediscovered her sparkle and that gold is her prize.

She defended a narrow lead over Anna Hall in a captivating 800m event final.

Johnson-Thompson overtook Hall by running a personal best of 2 minutes, 05.63 seconds to finish within 1.54 seconds of the American favorite and seal the overall victory by 20 points.

The Briton had come into the two-lap decider with a 26-point lead over Olympic and world silver medalist Anouk Vetter.

However, it was the 22-year-old Hall – 43 points behind in third place – who offered a much bigger threat with a personal best of more than four seconds from Johnson-Thompson.

The 30-year-old’s lead over Hall after six events represented an advantage of about two and a half seconds, bringing a dramatic conclusion to an enthralling contest.

This has been proven. Hall led from the front but could not separate from Johnson-Thompson, who measured her effort to perfection before collapsing to the floor in a mixture of exhaustion and celebration.

How Johnson-Thompson Struggled Back to Victory

Since winning her first world title in Doha, Johnson-Thompson has endured her fair share of heartbreak.

Having recovered from a career-threatening Achilles tendon rupture—on the take-off leg, which is critical to her jumping abilities—in just eight months to make the Tokyo Olympics, she’s dealt another crushing blow.

A torn calf during the 200m race left her writhing on the track in pain, the harshest end to her first Olympic medal bid and leading to a year of indifference and underperformance in 2022.

But, just as she did that day when she refused medical help to cross the finish line, she picked herself up and kept going.

It was her World Championship experience last year, where she felt like there were spectators as she finished a disappointing eighth, that proved to be the catalyst for change.

Gold at a home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 12 months ago reignited her desire to fight for titles and hinted at a return to her former self as a Hall runner-up at Gotzis in May.

The now unexpected victory in Budapest marks an important personal moment for Johnson-Thompson who, when her achievement may have time to sink in, will look towards next summer’s Paris Olympics with ambition and faith.

Personal best things needed to stop the hall

In the absence of world champion Nafissatou Thiam, it was Hall who started the two-day competition as the clear favourite.

But, despite amassing the fifth-best points total in history when she beat Johnson-Thompson in Götzis, the 22-year-old expected a ‘close fight’ medal in Budapest – and that’s exactly what it did.

Hall led all night but Johnson-Thompson confirmed she would start day two in strong competition with a competition-leading time of 23.48 seconds in the 200 metres, moving her into second place after four events.

The Briton was relentless as she maintained her podium lead on Sunday, edging Hall with an unrivaled time of 6.54m in the long jump before producing a personal best in the javelin of 46.14m to extend her overall lead.

With a marginal advantage to count on, it means the 800m will decide the world champion.

Johnson-Thompson responded to stress with other personality sizes that speak to her better both physically and mentally.

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