Katarina Johnson-Thompson dismisses injury fears after Belgrade withdrawal


Katarina Johnson-Thompson dismissed all injury fears and vowed she will get stronger after retiring from 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 retiring from the heptathlon in Japan – having prevailed against all odds following a torn Achilles tendon in December 2020.

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


She was a late entry into the British team after winning the title in Birmingham in 2018.

The 29-year-old weathered a rusty morning in Belgrade and was never in the medal fight but insisted she will improve ahead of defending her World and Commonwealth titles this year.

“I’m fit and happy but I knew I couldn’t give my all for the 800m so I decided to retire 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

Katarina Johnson Thompson

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

“I came here super rusty, but if you think about my career over the last two years, with COVID and the Achilles tendon rupture, you can count it on one side of the competitions I’ve done so I take so many can be positive.

“I learned a lot. I now have a plan for the rest of the season and I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and defending my titles.

“I have three championships as a goal, I think I will only do two of them. My ultimate goal is to play the World Championships in Eugene and then the Commonwealth Games.”

Katarina Johnson-Thompson returned to action with a rusty display (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)


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

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

Daryll Neita, who was part of Team GB’s 4 x 100m relay team and won Olympic bronze last year after also reaching the 100m final, failed to make it to the 60m final.

She ran 7.15 seconds and finished fifth in her run before Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji won the final in Serbia in 6.96 seconds.

Elsewhere, Britain’s captain Sophie McKenna finished eighth in the shot put with a performance of 18.62m. Katarina Johnson-Thompson dismisses injury fears after Belgrade withdrawal

Andrew Schnitker

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