Jessica Ennis-Hill will not have it all her own way in this year’s World Athletics Championships: there’s a new rival on the Team GB block.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson will be going head-to-head with Ennis-Hill in the heptathlon in Beijing this year, beginning this Saturday.
While the two leading multi-eventers battle it out for Britain, another double-barrelled Team GB hopeful is racing in the 200m: Dina Asher-Smith.
What do we need to know about these three current and future stars of British Athletics? BBC commentator Steve Cram gives us the low-down.
“KJT is a world-class long jumper – she’ll be competing in the individual event in Beijing as well as the heptathlon – but at heart she’s a multi-eventer. Seeing her come through so soon after Jess Ennis-Hill is really exciting. It was good for her as a youngster in 2012 to compete alongside Jess and see her perform.
“Now Katarina’s right in the mix: she was a couple of points off breaking the world record indoors this year, but has managed to stay under the radar after a few injury problems. If she beats Jess in Beijing – and there is every possibility of that – going to Rio, the pressure will be on KJT!
— KJT (@JohnsonThompson) August 19, 2015
“Had Katarina had a trouble-free preparation after her phenomenal indoor season, then she would have been thinking of coming to Beijing to blow people apart. The agenda might have changed a little bit; she’s taken the pressure off herself so she doesn’t break down again.
“I think that’s a good approach: when you are young, you just want to go an rip everything apart, but for multi-eventers staying healthy is a massive part of the planning. Their bodies will break down before anybody else’s.”
“There has been this line of succession with British heptathletes: it started with Denise Lewis, then Kelly Sotherton. Jess as a junior was coming up behind Kelly. The fact that Jess is carrying on to Rio helps Katarina immensely.
“Without Jess all our media would be expecting KJT to win gold in Rio, but as it is Jess’s return to competition after having her child has taken the limelight away from Katarina. Oddly they are quite similar: Jess is a better hurdler, she probably has a little more speed, but Katarina is definitely the better long jumper. It will be fascinating to see them go head-to-head.”
“Team GB hasn’t really had a great female sprinter since Kathy Cook, but 19-year-old Dina has the whole armoury. When she became the first British sprinter to run 100m in under 11 seconds, at the Anniversary Games in London, it showed everyone – including her – what’s possible.
“Dina will be competing in only the 200m in Beijing. It was always the plan and shows what a level-headed girl she is. People forget that Usain Bolt ran only the 200m in the 2004 Olympics. He didn’t have the development to run the 100m properly until he was about 21.
“I think when you have a more measured approach to your career, that’s a good thing. Dina is still combining training and competing with university. The good thing about uni is you can plan your year around that schedule, and the summer is free. It’s good to have that mix; I won the world championships the year I graduated, so no big deal. It helps to have something else.”