NAFI THIAM AND JOHNSON-THOMPSON SET FOR PRE-WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS LONG JUMP SHOWDOWN AT MÜLLER GRAND PRIX BIRMINGHAM
Olympic, world and European heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam (BEL) will take on Commonwealth heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR, coach: Bertrand Valcin, club: Liverpool Harriers) at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham on Sunday 18 August.
The Belgium star and British multi-eventer will meet in the long jump at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, just six weeks before the start of the IAAF World Championships in Doha.
It will be the first time the two have competed against each other, since the European Championships in Berlin last year, where Johnson-Thompson took the silver behind Thiam. It is also the Belgian athlete’s first ever Diamond League meeting in the UK.
The Olympic and world champion, Thiam missed the indoor season after sustaining a calf injury during a training camp in South Africa. However, she achieved a world-leading performance of 6819 points, despite an elbow injury, on her return to heptathlon action in Talence, France, at the end of June.
The 24-year-old set a world and personal best of 2.02m for the high jump within a heptathlon, and a Belgian long jump record of 6.67m on her way to victory that day.
Also confirmed to be in the field are two fellow global stars and specific long jump specialists in world indoor champion Ivana Spanovic (SER) and Britain’s world and European medallist Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson; Thames Valley).
The reigning Olympic, world and European heptathlon champion, Nafi Thiam said:
“I am really looking forward to competing at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham; it will be my first ever Diamond League meeting in the UK so there is a real mixture of intrigue and excitement for me. I remember how amazing the British crowd were when I won at the world championships in London, so it is hugely exciting to be heading back to the UK to compete.
“Competing against what I know will be a very strong field, including Katarina who I am obviously familiar with, will be great preparation for the world championships in Doha, where I am aiming to defend my title, and I’m sure it will be an exciting competition for the fans there in Birmingham.”
Johnson-Thompson won her second European Indoor pentathlon title in Glasgow in March. She then followed that up with an exceptional performance outdoors in May, to win the heptathlon at the Gotzis Hypo-Meeting, with a personal best and then-world-leading score of 6,813 points.
Heading into Birmingham with a season’s best of 6.68m, set in Gotzis in May, Johnson-Thompson said:
“I’m really excited to be competing in the long jump at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham. I’m hoping to produce a good, consistent series of jumps in front of my home crowd as part of my preparations towards the World Championships in Doha.
“The athletes that compete in the UK Diamond Leagues are always so strong across all the events and this will be no different. With the talent we have in British long jumping and the likes of Ivana Spanovic and Nafi Thiam also competing, it will be a great competition to be a part of. Hopefully our performances can match the British crowd who are always amazing.”
Tickets for the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham (18 August) & Müller British Athletics Championships (24-25 August) are on sale at www.theticketfactory.com/british-athletics