Katarina Johnson-Thompson breaks British indoor high-jump record
17 February 2015, Nirapad News: Katarina Johnson-Thompson breaks British indoor high-jump record • Heptathlete clears 1.97m to defend national crown • Teenage rival Morgan Lake breaks British junior record with 1.94m.
In the arena where Jessica Ennis-Hill is quietly preparing for her comeback, the next generation of British heptathletes showed that they are ready to grab her mantle. Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the world No. 1 multi-eventer last year and Morgan Lake, the 17-year-old prodigy, engaged each other in a thrilling high-jump battle at these national championships that ended with Johnson-Thompson leaping 1.97 m to break the British record and Lake smashing the British junior record by clearing 1.94 m.
It spoke volumes about Johnson-Thompson’s future ambitions that her celebrations after clearing 1.97m a fist-pump, followed by wide smile did not appear as animated as the slap of frustration she gave the landing mat when she failed to clear the next height of two metres. The 22-year-old may have exceeded others’ expectations, but clearly not her own.
“I am really happy with the personal best and that I’m back competing, but I never thought I’d be that disappointed with a 1.97 m,” admitted Johnson-Thompson, who was forced to miss the Commonwealth Games and European Championships last year with a stress fracture in her left foot.
“It’s crazy, because it’s a British record, but I wanted that two meters.
“I cleared the 1.97m with space, so I could have done a little better. I think it’s the big 2.00 on the board that puts you off a bit. If it was 1.97m plus three you would probably clear it! It’s probably a bit of a mental thing.”
Johnson-Thompson and Lake are hoping to compete in the pentathlon at the European Indoor Championships in Prague next month. It could the first of many major championship battles between the pair in the coming years – if they are as good as this, we will all enjoy the ride.
In the women’s 60m, Dina Asher-Smith gold-plated her enormous potential by winning her first senior title. The 19-year-old, who ranked second in the world indoors this year, was simple too good as she came home in 7.15 sec, 0.18 clear of Rachel Johncock in second. Afterwards, Asher-Smith, the world 100m junior champion last year, revealed that she had been suffering with flu. “I had a fever on Friday night that has cleared up a bit,” she said, “I’m on decongestants so I can talk. Sprinting with a fever is OK. You don’t breathe that much!”
In the men’s 60m there was no mistaking Chijindu Ujah – not only because of his full-body outfit, bright-blue headband and a thick diamond stud in his left ear, but also because of his dominant victory in 6.57 sec, ahead of his training partner Sean Safo-Antwi, who ran 6.66.
The absence of the world indoor champion, Richard Kilty, and Dwain Chambers, who both pulled out with minor niggles, weakened the field, but Ujah showed enough to suggest he would have been tough to beat regardless.
“I think I could have done something special, but I stumbled out of the blocks,” he said. “I exerted so much power in my first couple of steps that I wasn’t ready. I’m going to clear up for the Europeans and be on the podium there, hopefully.”
Lawrence Clarke, who has missed most of the past two years with injury, was relieved to win the men’s 60m hurdles in 7.69 sec from David Omoregie. “The last two weeks I have run four personal bests, so the target is Prague,” said Clarke. “I’m No2 in Europe at the moment, so hopefully I will do well.”
Meanwhile, Jenny Meadows, who has won seven British indoor titles, looks almost certain to make it eight on Sunday. The 33-year-old won her heat of the women’s 800m in 2min 04.56sec – six seconds and 80m ahead of her nearest rival and afterwards warned: “I’m in the shape of my life and I am very confident I can run very quick times.”