Katarina Johnson-Thompson in pentathlon high jump in Birmingham
It was a disaster in the high jump that cost Katarina Johnson-Thompson dearly in the heptathlon at last year’s IAAF World Championships. The British record holder in the event with 1.98m, she could only manage a 1.80m clearance and finished out of the medals in fifth. Compounding the agony, she proceeded to place fifth in the high jump final with 1.95m.
With that London aberration in mind, it would have no doubt settled the favourite’s nerves to enter the competition in today’s second event at 1.82m and sail over the bar first time with consummate ease. It was the same story at 1.85m but at 1.88m a somewhat tentative approach resulted in a rattle of the bar and a first-time failure.
Still, Johnson-Thompson nailed that height second time and did the same at 1.91m – before coming to grief with three fouls at 1.94m. The net result was two centimetres down on her season’s best but the points hauled the Briton from sixth to first in the overall standings – albeit with just a 13 points lead into her weakest event, the shot put.
After two events, Johnson-Thompson led with 2167, from US champion Erica Bougard (2154), Cuba’s Yorgelis Rodriguez (2082) and Ivona Dadic of Austria (2060).
The next best women in the field on lifetime bests of 1.89m were Bougard and the 19-year-old Ukraine athlete Alina Shukh. Neither women were at their best, however. Bougard had a second time success at 1.85m but then bowed out at 1.88m.
Sadly for Shukh, her travel travails caught up with her. The teenager nailed a first-time clearance at 1.82m but could venture no higher. She stood eighth overall, off the medal pace with 1944.
Rodriguez started with a PB of 1.85m but sailed over that height at the first attempt and then negotiated 1.88m at the second time of asking – four centimetres higher than the 1.84m that placed her 13th (of 13) in the individual high jump on Thursday night. In doing so, the Cuban climbed up in to the bronze medal spot.
Hungary’s Xenia Krizsan cleared a PB 1.82m to rise to fifth with 2047.
Simon Turnbull for the IAAF