In-form Johnson-Thompson targets Rio glory

Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:14am EDT
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(Reuters) - Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson has set her sights on winning a first Olympic heptathlon gold medal in Rio next month after she confirmed her good form with some fine individual performances at the London Anniversary Games last weekend.

The 23-year-old won the long jump on day two of the Diamond League event with a season's best 6.84 meters on Saturday and produced an outdoor best 1.95m high jump the previous day.

Returning from injury, Johnson-Thompson clinched a place in the Olympic team after she accumulated the required 6,200 points at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis in May to join compatriot Jessica Ennis-Hill in the Rio lineup.

"I definitely have time but I want to win it now. The thought of winning motivates me more," she told British media.

"When you are doing hard training you can think about past experiences which can get you up for that last rep, but in competition you just have to be smart. At that stage, positive reinforcement is better than negative."

Olympic champion Ennis-Hill, who is favorite to retain the gold medal, endured a mixed couple of days as she pulled out her second best 100m hurdles time on Friday but followed that with a tepid showing in the long jump, finishing seventh with 6.19m.

"Not at the minute. I feel that people expect Jess to win this year, so it would be an added bonus if I could," Johnson-Thompson said when asked if she feels pressure to follow in Ennis-Hill's footsteps.

"Maybe in four years time, but I don't feel any pressure right now."

Johnson-Thompson, who fell out of contention at last year's world championships in Beijing after registering three consecutive fouls in the long jump, was eager to avoid repeating such mistakes in Rio.   Continued...

Britain Athletics - 2016 London Anniversary Games - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London - 22/7/16
Great Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson in action during the Women's High Jump
Reuters / Eddie Keogh