Katarina Johnson-Thompson injury: Blow for Team GB star as statement indicates new problem

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson suffered injury heartbreak at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as she pulled out of the heptathlon after failing to complete the 200 metres event. Fears had arisen that it was a recurrence of the Achilles rupture she suffered in December 2020, however a UK Athletics statement has remarked that in this instance it was a problem with her right calf.

The statement read: “Katarina Johnson-Thompson sustained an injury to her right calf during the 200m and has had to withdraw from the heptathlon. It is not a repeat of her recent achilles injury which was on her left leg.”

Johnson-Thompson was offered treatment and a wheelchair on the track after she went down, however refused the help and bravely got back to her feet and finished the race. She was later disqualified for leaving her lane as she fell.

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Concerns for the 28-year-old’s fitness had arisen after she was spotted wincing in pain and receiving medical help during the high jump on Wednesday morning. It was due to be Johnson-Thompson’s first full heptathlon since she won gold at the World Championships at Doha after injury and the pandemic had scuppered much of her planned preparation.

Denise Lewis and Jessica Ennis-Hill, British heptathlon greats from years gone by, both expressed their sympathy for Johnson-Thompson on the BBC. Lewis said: “I’m just so gutted for her. So gutted for her. She’s worked so hard to get to this stage.”

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Ennis-Hill added: She had the best year of her life in 2019, she was ready to go. When you’re in that position, going into an Olympic year, that’s the best place you can be- you just need to ride through the winter, maintain that form, and you’re at the Olympics.

“The event is so gruelling and it has ended up in injury. It’s utterly, utterly devastating for her.”

The Team GB medal hopeful was relatively well-placed in the heptathlon having won her 100 metres hurdles race in her second fastest ever time, although she only managed more mediocre results in the high jump and shot putt. She was in fifth position leading into the 200 metres, 139 points adrift of reigning Olympic champion Nafi Thiam- after the disqualification she sat over 1082 points behind event leader Anouk Vetter.

The injury is the latest in a long string of bad luck for Team GB in the athletics. Dina Asher-Smith was unable to perform at her usual level in the 100 metres heats after suffering an injury in June’s Olympic trials, and subsequently pulled out of the 200 metres.

Adam Gemili suffered a torn hamstring as he practised box starts on the spare track at the Tokyo Olympic arena, and was unable to get any power in his legs as he too limped over the finishing line.

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