Yorgelis Rodriguez in the pentathlon shot at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018
Heading into pentathlon event number three, Katarina Johnson-Thompson was on course for a comfortable victory ahead of Ivona Dadic and Yorgelis Rodriguez and Erica Bougard.
Based on the Briton matching her best pentathlon shot put performance of 12.32m, which she set en route to her 5000 victory at the 2017 European Indoor Championships in Prague, Johnson-Thompson was projected to score in the region of 4900 points.
Hence it came as a huge boost when the pre-competition favourite opened with 12.68m, eclipsing the 12.49m indoor PB she set in 2014.
Johnson-Thompson has thrown 13.14m outdoors but, despite encouragement from the home crowd, she was unable to improve on her first-round effort, dropping to 12.00m and 11.99m with her second and third attempts.
It proved not quite enough to keep the Briton on top of the leader board. A 14.15m indoor PB by Yorgelis Rodriguez elevated the Cuban – who finished one place ahead of Johnson-Thompson, in fourth, in the heptathlon at last year’s outdoor World Championships in London – into pole position with 2886.
Nonetheless, Johnson-Thompson was still sitting pretty, just 13 points down in second place, with 2873 points in the bag and the trump card of the long jump – the event in which she took 2014 world indoor silver and 2012 world U20 gold – to come before the finale of the 800m.
Dadic improved her indoor PB by two centimetres to 14.27m, moving from fourth to third in the standings with 2872. US champion Bougard was 45 centimetres down on her season’s best with 12.31m and dropped from second to fourth with 2836.
The three best throws of the competition came from women still lying off the medal pace, in seventh, eighth and sixth respectively. At 32, Johnson-Thompson’s French training partner Antoinette Nana-Djimou uncorked a lifetime best of 15.52m, while Switzerland’s Caroline Agnou also notched a PB (14.92m) and Eliska Kluchinova of the Czech Republic achieved a season’s best of 14.76m.
All of which shifted the expected finishing order to: Johnson-Thompson, Dadic, Rodriguez and Bougard. All strictly on paper. And in theory, naturally. Combined events terms and conditions apply.
Simon Turnbull for the IAAF