9 Aug 2018

Johnson-Thompson takes early heptathlon lead after high jump tussle

Belgium's Nafissatou Thiam and Britain's Katerina Johnson-Thompson shared heptathlon high jump honours as both cleared 1.91 metres at the start of a competition that promises to be one of the highlights of Athletics in Berlin at the 2018 European Athletics Championships.

Thiam, the World and Olympic champion, started poorly, finishing last in her 100m hurdles heat in 13.69 seconds - 0.35 seconds off her personal best. But she bounced back in the high jump when she matched the world indoor champion's effort to trail by just 51 points after two events.

The "Forza Daisy" flag was waving in earnest as Italy's Daisy Osakue qualified for Saturday’s women's discus final with 58.73 metres. The Italian was only cleared to compete last Friday after an egg-throwing attack in Turin in July left her with impaired vision.

Croatia's World and Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic remains on course to make athletics history as the only athlete to win five straight European titles in a single event. She took just one throw of 64.54m to progress as top qualifier. Her main rival, Nadine Muller (GER) is also through.

Another home thrower, Christin Hussong, rose to the occasion in javelin qualifying, progressing automatically with a personal best of 67.29m, only 18 centimetres short of the 16-year-old Championship record.

Serbia's defending women's long jump champion Ivana Spanovic was top qualifier for Saturday’s final as she reached 7.84m. Britain's Shara Proctor was second overall and will contest the final alongside her compatriot Lorraine Ugen, who leads this season's world list.  

France's world 800m champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse teetered on the brink of exit in his heat. Boxed in on the final lap, he stumbled halfway down the back straight but kept his feet before taking the third automatic qualifying spot in 1 minute 48.14 seconds.

By contrast, Poland's Adam Kszczot ran a model race to win his heat in the day's fastest time of 1:46.31.