Injured Katarina Johnson-Thompson forced to withdraw from European Athletics Championships


Katarina Johnson-Thompson has been forced to withdraw from the European Athletics Championships in Rome due to injury in a blow to her Olympic Games preparations.

The reigning heptathlon world champion pulled out of the final event on day one in ninth place, having competed in the 100 metres hurdles, high jump and shot put.

"Kat has developed a small niggle in her right leg and, in light of the proximity of the Olympic Games, we have chosen to bank what we have learned from this first day of competition and withdraw from the heptathlon," Johnson-Thompson's coach Aston Moore said.

"We don't want to risk losing any time from training which could be the result if she was to carry on competing with it for another day. We wish all the other competitors well for the rest of the competition."

Johnson-Thompson ran 13.66 seconds in the hurdles, more than half a second down on her personal best, before clearing 1.83 metres in the high jump to move up to fourth place.

The 31-year-old could only manage a best of 12.44m in the shot put to slip to ninth, more than 300 points behind Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam, who had cleared 1.95m in the high jump to take command of the competition.

On the track, Jemma Reekie had earlier led team-mates Georgia Bell and Katie Snowden into the women's 1,500m final, while Elliot Giles and Thomas Randolph reached the men's 800m semi-finals.

Morgan Lake also reached the women's high jump final, while Lawrence Okoye finished eighth in the discus final with a best of 63.48m in the final round.

The British quartet of Charlie Carvell, Hannah Kelly, Lewis Davey and Emily Newnham finished fifth in the final of the inaugural 4x400m mixed relay as Ireland's Chris O'Donnell, Rhasidat Adeleke, Thomas Barr and Sharlene Mawdsley took gold ahead of home nation Italy.

Italy had claimed the first medals of the championship with a one-two in the women's 20km walk, where the drama was reserved for the battle for bronze.

Spain's Laura Garcia-Caro looked to have secured third place and was already celebrating when she realised to her horror that she was about to be overtaken on the line by Ukraine's Lyudmila Olyanovska.