Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Erica Bougard in the pentathlon 60m hurdles at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018
Two-time US indoor champion Erica Bougard snatched a narrow lead in the opening event of the pentathlon, finishing 0.01 ahead of teammate Kendell Williams in 8.07 in heat two of the 60m hurdles. That converted to a score of 1113 and a lead of two points.
Bougard, who clocked 7.98 at altitude en route to her world-leading 4760 at the US Indoor Championships, was the only sub-eight-second performer in the 12-woman field. Her time here in Birmingham is a mark she has only once bettered at sea level.
Williams’ 8.08 was a season’s best, while third-placed Katerina Kachova of the Czech Republic and fourth-placed two-time European champion Antoinette Nana Djimou of France clocked 8.20 and 8.29 respectively.
Pre-competition favourite Katerina Johnson-Thompson did not get the best of starts but fifth place in 8.36 was no disaster for the 25-year-old Briton. It was down on the 8.18 she clocked in her last pentathlon – when she won the 2016 European indoor title with 5000 points in Prague – but equalled her season’s best to rank sixth overall with 1048.
There was also a season’s best of 8.38 for Xenia Krizsan of Hungary, sixth in heat two and seventh fastest overall.
In the opening heat, Austria’s European indoor silver medallist Ivona Dadic sped to a decisive victory in 8.32, slicing 0.07 off her personal best. The next four across the line were Portugal’s Lecabela Quaresma (8.51), Caroline Agnou of Switzerland (8.56), Cuban Yorgelis Rodriguez (8.57) and Eliska Kluchinova of the Czech Republic (8.65).
For all of that, though, perhaps the most impressive performance of all came from sixth-placed Alina Shukh. The 19-year-old European U20 champion must have been all shook up following a nightmare journey from Ukraine, having been stuck in Schipol Airport in the Netherlands last night and arrived without her luggage, yet still managed a PB-equalling 8.85.
Simon Turnbull for the IAAF