Katarina Johnson-Thompson plays down Olympic favourite tag but admits she now knows she's capable of winning
World heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson has played down suggestions that she is the favourite for the title in Tokyo despite her convincing win in Doha.
The 26-year-old Scouser set a British record 6,981 points as she stormed to victory, claiming four new PBs (100m hurdles, shot put, javelin and 800m) in the process.
Despite defeating the reigning Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam by 304 points, Johnson-Thompson was quick to say that the Olympic title is far from secure.
Asked on BBC 5 Live's Breakfast programme whether she considered herself the front-runner, she said: "I'm not too sure. I don't know. It hasn't settled in.
“For me, even though I’ve won this time around, it’s one of those things. I know that I’m capable of winning now, it has given me confidence for the future, but I know what it’s like to come second, I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve under-performed.
“So, I’m fully expecting Nafi [Thiam] to go away and have an amazing winter and come back with a different sort of motivation,” she said.
The star athlete is now looking ahead to Tokyo in a bid to become the third British woman to win the heptathlon title after Denise Lewis won in Sydney in 2000 and Jessica Ennis claimed the gold on 'Super Saturday' at London 2012.
She was quick to praise the two former champions and admits they have been inspirations for her: “Both Jess and Denise have been vital in my development and motivation and inspiration to do those performances.
“Denise travelled to France when I was looking for a coach in 2016, we travelled to different countries trying to find a coach together.
“And obviously with Jess, I was there in 2012 when she got that British record. That inspired me beyond belief.
“I was only 19 years-old at the time and to see that happen first hand was a huge inspiration, I was like, ‘I want that in the future’, and I’m just happy and grateful that I was able to put those results down on the track.”
Johnson-Thompson is also the only British woman among the 11 nominees for IAAF Female Athlete of the year, which will be awarded on November 23 in Monaco.