Johnson-Thompson wins World Athletics Championships heptathlon gold

first_imgKATARINA Johnson-Thompson has ended her wait for her first global outdoor title by powering to heptathlon gold at the World Championships.The 26-year-old, previously without an outdoor medal at this level, won with a British record 6,981 points, beating 2017 champion Nafissatou Thiam by 304 points. Austria’s Verena Preiner took third.It is Great Britain’s third medal in Doha following Dina Asher-Smith’s 200m gold and 100m silver.“This is the result of so many attempts of trying to perform on this stage,” Johnson-Thompson told BBC Sport.“The low moments have helped me come back and look at myself. This has been my dream.“It has been such a long road. I am just happy that I’m coming into my best in these two big years.”Johnson-Thompson led Thiam by 137 points going into the concluding 800m and stormed to victory in two minutes 07.26 seconds – her fourth personal best of the competition.The omens looked good for her when in the first event on day one she took 0.21 seconds off her previous best to win her 100m hurdles in 13.09 seconds.The Briton’s high jump of 1.95cm was matched by Thiam, before she scored a huge personal best in the shot put – one of her weaker events. The distance of 13.86m was 71cm further than she had ever gone before.After the 200m, the Briton had a 96-point overnight lead over the Belgian, nine better than her advantage at last year’s European Championships where she eventually finished second.The pattern continued yesterday as Johnson-Thompson’s consistency, paired with a below-par Thiam, saw the Liverpool athlete extend her lead.In the long jump, another of her strong events, she leapt to 6.77m. Thiam, who managed 6.86m in Birmingham in August and defeated the Briton, only went out to 6.40m.Then came the moments that effectively clinched gold for Johnson-Thompson as first she recorded another PB by throwing the javelin to 43.93m before Thiam, who had been struggling with an elbow injury, managed only 48.04m – her best is 59.32m – and skipped her final throw.That gave her the 137-point lead over the Belgian going into the 800m, having previously trailed her rival at this stage.Johnson-Thompson kept her cool during the final event which she won before lying down on the track to contemplate what she had achieved.Her points total surpassed the previous best of 6 955 set by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill at the London 2012 Olympics. (BBC Sport)last_img read more

Tennis captains set to step up

first_imgWith its season-opening tournament rapidly approaching this Friday, the University of Wisconsin women’s tennis team is ratcheting up their preparations for this season. Under new leadership, however, things may be different for the Badgers.Head coach Brian Fleishman has announced senior Katya Mirnova and junior Jessica Seyferth as team captains. While both are first-time captains, Fleishman has no doubts about his new captains’ leadership abilities.“It was pretty much a no-brainer,” Fleishman said of the decision to elect Mirnova and Seyferth.After last year, when the Badgers finished 68th in the NCAA and ninth in the Big Ten, Fleishman was faced with the task of replacing his two departing senior captains, Liz Carpenter and Erin Jobe. With only one senior on the team this year, Mirnova was an easy choice.“Katya, being our only senior, was asked by [the coaches], ‘Hey, do you want this your senior year?’ and she pretty much just laughed and said, ‘Of course I do!’” Fleishman said. “She’s one of those players that leads by example.”With one captain in place, Fleishman did not have much trouble deciding on Seyferth as the second.“With Jessica, basically you can’t have any more pride in the university than she does,” Fleishman said. “She wants this team to do well, and that’s the only reason she came here, to make the team better. [Choosing her] was pretty much a done deal.”As a freshman from Madison’s Memorial High School, Mirnova initially had no desire to serve as a captain. It was not until last year, her junior year, when Mirnova began to have aspirations to be one of the team’s leaders.“I never thought about it my freshman and sophomore years,” Mirnova said. “Then, as I became a junior, I started to think about it more, and I watched Liz Carpenter as a captain and I think she fulfilled her role perfectly. That’s when I started thinking about it and actually really wanted to become a captain.”For Seyferth, being a captain was always a definite goal. A two-year captain in high school, serving as captain for the UW was the logical next step.“I’ve always wanted to be captain of a college team,” Seyferth said. “It was definitely an honor and a position I was willing to take up with Katya. I think we’ll do a good job of leading the team this year and motivating everyone.”For Fleishman, being captain of his team is more than just a title. While some leadership roles in sports have been labeled overrated or unnecessary, Fleishman bestows certain responsibilities upon his captains.“One of the responsibilities, first, was over the summer, [Seyferth and Mirnova] were supposed to keep in touch with all the players, incoming and current, and make sure everyone was staying in shape, which they did a tremendous job of,” Fleishman said. “Once the team [began practicing], we were that much ahead of the game already. Day-to-day operations … their responsibilities are big, but they’ve accepted the challenge.”After beginning last year with a 2-1 record, the Badgers faltered around midseason. The worst stretch began with the onset of conference play, in which the team lost its first eight Big Ten matches. This year, Seyferth and Mirnova are already focused on improving both the team’s performance and attitude.“I think I can help [the team] emotionally and mentally,” Mirnova said of her role as captain. “Just keeping everyone intense when they’re feeling tired or worn down, or easing up on them when they’re feeling pressure.”“Getting [the team] motivated earlier,” Seyferth said of her first goal as captain this year. “[I want to] stay positive and let them know that we can do something bigger than ourselves and keep up the spirit.”This year, the Badgers begin the season in nearby Elm Grove at the Milwaukee Tennis Classic. The tournament begins Friday and will conclude Sunday afternoon. After a monthlong span of tournaments in October, the team will return to play its home opener Jan. 1 against UW-Milwaukee at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium. With Fleishman, Mirnova and Seyferth all agreeing the transition to their new roles as captains has been seamless, the team is excited about its potential this season.“I always have better expectations than the last year,” Seyferth said. “Each year, I think our team is improving, so I have really high expectations, and I expect people to step up.”last_img read more