World 2019 heptathlon champion and British record-holder eager to impress at the legendary combined events meet

Katarina Johnson-Thompson is in confident mood ahead of her first heptathlon this season as she takes on some of the best in the world at Hypo-Meeting Götzis (May 27-28).

The world 2019 heptathlon champion and British record-holder warmed up for her trip to Austria in style after winning both the 100m hurdles and being part of the successful England 4x400m team at the Loughborough International on Sunday (May 21).

The 30-year-old clocked 13.73 (-1.0) in the 100m hurdles, threw a best of 13.13m in the shot put and rounded the day off by helping the English quartet to relay victory in 3:37.03.

“It was really cool to do a mixture of events,” Johnson-Thompson told AW. “I did the hurdles, which I really just like to get out the way before I do a heptathlon. The shot put was probably one of the most consistent series [of throws] I’ve done in my life and I’m really pleased with it.

“The 4x400m leg is probably the first and last time I’ll do a relay I think! It was stressful competing for England and I normally don’t like working in a team just in case I let them down. But it worked out well.

“I’ve done a few relays in France before when I took it a bit easy but this one was a bit more high pressured. It’s great practice anyway for the 800m.”

Johnson-Thompson flies out to Götzis on Thursday (May 26) and is no stranger to the event, having won it in 2014 and 2019, the latter occurring just five months before she claimed a maiden world heptathlon title.

However, last year she scored the lowest score of her career at the event and Johnson-Thompson knows better than anyone else about the pressure that the multi-events mecca brings.

“It feels like a world championships,” she said. “There’s always been exciting energy at the event and people are always optimistic in Götzis.

“It can break your heart but it can also make your dreams come true.”

To be fully prepared for the outdoor season and in a bid to reclaim her world heptathlon title, Johnson-Thompson skipped the indoor season and instead focused on her training camps in Turkey and South Africa.

KJT at Loughborough International (James Rhodes)

Now coached by Aston Moore, Johnson-Thompson has found an extra spring in her step and last August she became a double Commonwealth heptathlon champion, her first major accolade in four years.

The next step is to raise that level again against the world’s best but Johnson-Thompson will likely not face Nafi Thiam until the World Championships in Budapest, with the double Olympic and world heptathlon champion missing Götzis.

“It was really good as I didn’t have an indoor season and it’s been really useful having that training, just to break it up and get some sunshine,” Johnson-Thompson added. “Ultimately, you’ll never know what you’ll do until you go out there and get to the start line. I’ve had great preparation and everything has gone well so far.

“Thiam is one of the greatest athletes of any generation. It was so good to see her break the world pentathlon record at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul. Everyone is raising the game and hopefully I can join them too.”

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