Katarina Johnson-Thompson hailed a ‘magical’ opening day at Glasgow 2019 after reclaiming her European Indoor pentathlon title in supreme fashion.
Spurred on by a raucous Emirates Arena, the British star posted an impressive total of 4983 points to sweep to victory and add to the gold she won at Prague 2015.
The crowning moment, a win in the evening’s final event, the 800m, capped a near-perfect day at the office for the Liverpool Harrier, who was also competing in front of a vocal pocket of family and friends.
And despite narrowly missing out on a world record – the 26-year-old fell just 30 points short of Nataliya Dobrynska’s milestone total of 5013 – an emotional Johnson-Thompson admitted that her experience in the Scottish city would live long in the memory.
“It’s very high-level stuff when you’re going for a big score,” she said.
“You can’t afford any mistakes but that’s sport. But 4980 is still a big score so I’m proud of myself and the score.
“I’ve learned a lot from Prague where I didn’t get to enjoy that moment and that was a bigger score so I’m just going to enjoy this one.
“Today has been magical with all my family here to support me so I’m not going to cry.
“I wanted to carry it on (that winning feeling). Learning what to do in championships is something that’s definitely going to go into my summer and hopefully help me do better outdoors.”
Johnson-Thompson’s latest triumph continues a hugely successful 12 months in which she was also crowned World Indoor champion and picked up Commonwealth Games gold.
Chief to her success at the Emirates Arena was a vastly improved shot put performance that resulted in a new personal best of 13.15m, and the Liverpudlian was pleased to see her hard work on her former Achilles heel pay off.
“It’s great that I was able to get 13m again in
“I’m not going to settle so this is a good way to start the year and hopefully I can build into the summer.
“It’s not an easy fix. It came from a diet place after the Rio Olympics. It’s been a lifestyle change to join the French and try to learn how to throw.
“They’ve slowly given me confidence and I’m not scared when I enter the circle any more. It’s a confidence thing more than a technical thing.”
On a hugely productive night for the host nation under the lights, 19-year-old Niamh Emerson joined her teammate on the pentathlon podium, scooping silver in her first success at a major indoor championship.