Katarina Johnson-Thompson has given Team GB a huge boost ahead of the Olympics by declaring she is 100% fit for Tokyo and targeting a place on the podium.
Uncertainty has surrounded the condition of the world heptathlon champion since she picked up an injury in late December, which she confirmed for the first time on Monday was a ruptured achilles on her jumping leg. But having made her return with a 1.84m high jump in a low-key competition at the end of last month, the 28-year-old believes she is at the end of a “long, tough road” as the Olympics loom into view.
“I was devastated and at one point it could have gone one of two ways but I’m glad it went in the best direction for me where I’m able to compete at my third Olympics,” said Johnson-Thompson, who will compete on Tuesday in the long jump in the Anniversary Games in Gateshead. “I’m fully fit and ready to go.”
Johnson-Thompson, who broke the British record in winning world championship gold in Doha in 2019, believes she could win a medal despite missing months of training. “That’s my aim,” she said.
“I wouldn’t have worked so hard as I have for the last seven months to get to the position I’m in. I did the high jump last week, I’m doing long jump in Gateshead and then I’ve got another competition set ahead of Tokyo. I’m pushing every day to still achieve my targets.”
Johnson-Thompson, who will face the German world champion Malaika Mihambo and the Britons Jazmin Sawyers and Abigail Irozuru, admitted she was short of competition practice but insisted she was stronger than before her injury.
“I ruptured my jumping leg but I high jumped off it last week, which is a very good sign. And I’m long jumping off the same leg too. Everything has healed. My left leg is now stronger than my right because of it. I’m in a good place.
“I’m obviously missing competition practice but that’s why I’m here. I’m 100% in my body. In the coming weeks I’ll see where I’m at performance wise in the coming competition I’m going to compete in.”
Elsewhere Trayvon Brommell, the world’s fastest man this year, takes on the British sprinters Zharnel Hughes, CJ Ujah and Adam Gemili in 100m – while the sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah, the pole vaulter Katerina Stefanidi and the 110m hurdler Omar McLeod of Jamaica are among the Olympic champions competing.
Dina Asher-Smith, who would have been the star attraction of the meeting, has pulled out to protect a tight hamstring.