Katarina Johnson-Thompson dismisses injury fears after Belgrade withdrawal

Katarina Johnson-Thompson dismisses injury fears after Belgrade withdrawal

Katarina Johnson-Thompson dismissed any injury fears and vowed she will get stronger after pulling out of the World Indoor Championships.

The defending pentathlon champion returned for the first time since her Olympic heartbreak in Tokyo last summer.

She suffered a calf injury in the 200m before withdrawing from the heptathlon in Japan – having beaten the odds to make it after rupturing her Achilles in December 2020.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson
Katarina Johnson-Thompson withdrew from the last event in the pentathlon (Darko Vojinovic/AP)

She was a late entry into the British team having won the title in Birmingham in 2018.

The 29-year-old endured a rusty morning in Belgrade and was never in medal contention but insisted she will improve ahead of the defence of her world and Commonwealth titles this year.

“I’m fit and I’m happy, but I knew I couldn’t give it my all for the 800m so I’ve decided to withdraw from the last event in the pentathlon,” she said.

“This was my first opportunity to compete since Tokyo and I wanted to test myself in a competition again.

“I came out here and I was super rusty but when you think about my career over the last two years, with COVID and the Achilles rupture, you can count them out to competitions I’ve done on one hand so I can take so many positives.

“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve now got a plan in place for the rest of the season and I’m now really excited to get back out there and defend my titles.

“I have three championships the target, I think I’m only going to do two of them. My ultimate goal is to do the Worlds in Eugene and then the Commonwealth Games being the other.”

Katarina Johnson-Thompson
Katarina Johnson-Thompson turned in a rusty display on her return to action (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

In the morning session Johnson-Thompson showed she still needed to get up to speed as she ran 8.45seconds in the 60m hurdles before a frustrating high jump, clearing just 1.83m.

She also threw 13.02m in the shot put and posted 6.08m in the long jump but never threatened the leaders and Belgium’s Noor Vidts took the title with Great Britain’s Holly Mills fourth.

Daryll Neita, who was part of Team GB’s 4x100m relay squad to win Olympic bronze last year having also reached the 100m final, failed to make the 60m final.

She ran 7.15s to finish fifth in her heat before Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji won the final in Serbia in 6.96s.

Elsewhere, Great Britain captain Sophie McKenna finished eighth in the shot put with an effort of 18.62m.