Katarina Johnson-Thompson dedicated her first heptathlon title in three years to her late grandmother after successfully defending her crown at the Commonwealth Games.
The 29-year-old triumphed with 6377 points ahead of Northern Ireland’s Kate O’Connor, who took silver, and England team-mate Jade O’Dowda, who finished third in Birmingham.
It is Johnson-Thompson’s first win since winning the world title in 2019 after recovering from two serious injuries, and she paid tribute to her grandmother Mary, who died last month.
“She unfortunately passed away a few days after I got back from Eugene, so it’s been a tough week, so I’m just glad I got through it,” she said.
“It was particularly difficult because she was here for the last Indoor Winners in Glasgow, so it was quite difficult not to see her face in the crowd.
“I’ve completed three heptathlons this year, I’m just happy that I got through it healthy. Hopefully this will be a stepping stone for me, like 2018 was, for better things to come next year.
“It wasn’t about the points, it was about being competitive and trying to find my answer on the third try that I used to have that I didn’t have in the last few heptathlons I’ve competed in. So I am so happy for many different reasons.”
A ruptured Achilles tendon threatened her Olympic dream last year and although she made it to Tokyo, she suffered a serious calf injury in the 200m and had to retire.
Her injury nightmare left her unable to defend her world title in Eugene last month and finished eighth as Nafi Thiam reclaimed the crown after losing to Johnson-Thompson in Doha in 2019.
But at the Alexanderstadion she ended her wait for a win.
Johnson-Thompson held an overnight lead and held on to a 122-point lead after Wednesday morning’s long jump.
She then cemented her lead with a stunning personal best of 44.33m in the javelin, one of her weaker disciplines, leaving it on the verge of gold.
“The javelin throw is my first PB in three years, so I’m really happy with it. I’m not in shape,” she said.
“I’m not in the best shape I can be so I wasn’t expecting personal bests. I wanted to come through with solid performances, that was unexpected but a nice surprise.”
It gave her a 136-point lead over O’Connor going into the final 800m and she ran two minutes and 13.93 seconds to finish second in the race and safely claim the overall victory.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/katarina-johnsonthompson-mary-england-gold-eugene-b2137720.html Katarina Johnson-Thompson ends ‘tough week’ with gold at Commonwealth Games