Johnson-Thompson targets podium at worlds after injury woes

Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson said she is feeling minimal pressure as she eyes a podium finish at the upcoming World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, despite a patchy build-up to her title defence.

The 29-year-old recovered from a ruptured Achilles to compete at last year’s Tokyo Games before a calf injury in the 200m ended her Olympic hopes.

Johnson-Thompson posted her third-lowest score at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis, Austria, in May in her first full heptathlon since becoming world champion in Doha in 2019.

“I don’t really care about pressure these days,” Johnson-Thompson said. “Knowing that I’ve done this before and won, I feel like going in, it’s just a nice reassurance. If it’s been done before, it can be done again.

“I don’t want to just go out to compete, I want to be in the medal hunt. I’ve been working so hard, this is the longest run I’ve had with no injury leading into a championship for as long as I can remember.”

Johnson-Thompson added she teamed up with new coach Aston Moore to give her the best chance of success at the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, having split with her previous coach Petros Kyprianou in June after only six months.

The world championships will run from July 15-24, with the heptathlon starting from Sunday.

“Looking ahead to Paris, I wanted to make these decisions sooner rather than later,” Johnson-Thompson said. “Ultimately, I have to do what’s right for me and I believe this is what it is.

“Going into Doha, I felt like I was in the best shape of my life… I did have confidence in my ability go in there and win but at the same time I was in the mindset of ‘what will be, will be’.

“Right now, it’s been shifted in the fact I have a new coach. Different points are taking priority right now. I feel like it’s definitely a different mindset, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t get a good score out.”

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