Katarina Johnson-Thompson wins World Athletics Championships heptathlon gold

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson has ended her wait for her first global outdoor title by powering to heptathlon gold at the World Championships.

The 26-year-old, previously without an outdoor medal at this level, won with a British record 6,981 points, beating 2017 champion Nafissatou Thiam by 304 points.

Austria’s Verena Preiner took third.

It is Great Britain’s third medal in Doha following Dina Asher-Smith’s 200m gold and 100m silver.

Johnson-Thompson led Thiam by 137 points going into the concluding 800m and stormed to victory in two minutes 07.26 seconds – her fourth personal best of the competition.

The omens looked good for her when in the first event on day one she took 0.21 seconds off her previous best to win her 100m hurdles in 13.09 seconds.

The Briton’s high jump of 1.95cm was matched by Thiam, before she scored a huge personal best in the shot put – one of her weaker events. The distance of 13.86m was 71cm further than she had ever gone before.

After the 200m, the Briton had a 96-point overnight lead over the Belgian, nine better than her advantage at last year’s European Championships where she eventually finished second.

The pattern continued on Thursday as Johnson-Thompson’s consistency, paired with a below-par Thiam, saw the Liverpool athlete extend her lead.

In the long jump, another of her strong events, she leapt to 6.77m. Thiam, who managed 6.86m in Birmingham in August and defeated the Briton, only went out to 6.40m.

Then came the moments that effectively clinched gold for Johnson-Thompson as first she recorded another PB by throwing the javelin to 43.93m before Thiam, who had been struggling with an elbow injury, only managed 48.04m – her best is 59.32m – and skipped her final throw.

That gave her the 137-point lead over the Belgian going into the 800m, having previously trailed her rival at this stage.

Johnson-Thompson kept her cool during the final event which she won before laying down on the track to contemplate what she had achieved.

Her points total surpassed the previous best of 6,955 set by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill at the London 2012 Olympics.

2019 Rugby World Cup: Japan v Russia
Japan: (12) 30
Tries: Matsushima 3, Labuschagne; Pens: Tamura 2 Cons: Tamura, Matsuda
Russia: (7) 10
Tries: Golosnitsky Pens: Kushnarev Cons: Kushnarev

Wing Kotaro Matsushima scored a hat-trick as hosts Japan got their World Cup campaign under way with a 30-10 victory against Russia.

Pieter Labuschagne
Labuschagne extended Japan’s lead early in the second half as Japan’s fitness told

Tamura extended Japan’s advantage with a penalty before Labuschagne ripped the ball out of Andrei Ostrikov’s hands and showed impressive pace by covering half the pitch to score his first international try.

Russia clawed back some points with a Yury Kushnarev penalty, but Japan again responded through Tamura, opting for a greater lead rather than going for a four-try bonus point.

The fourth try soon followed, though, as Vasily Artemyev’s clearing kick went wrong and the ball ended up in the arms of Matsushima once again, allowing the wing to speed past Russian defenders for his hat-trick.

Japan’s next match will be against Ireland on 28 September, while Russia face Samoa on 24 September.

Player of the match – Matsushima

Kotaro Matsushima has a try ruled out
Matsushima would have had a first half hat-trick of tries but this effort was ruled out

With 102 metres run and seven defenders beaten, pacy wing Matsushima put in a promising player-of-the-match performance with his hat-trick heroics in Tokyo.

‘We want to show Japan that we can play – what they said

Japan captain Michael Leitch told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’m happy and a win is a win. We knew it was not going to be easy and it took an 80-minute effort. It was exactly how we imagined it would be. We knew they would be passionate, physical and brave and they showed all three.

“We missed the first kick-off and they scored but we regrouped and got ourselves back in the right direction. We are up against Ireland next week and it’s going to be another tough match.

“With what we did in 2015, the memory is still strong with the Japanese public. To have a World Cup on home soil is a great opportunity to inspire the public. We will have another full ground next week and we need to take these opportunities to show Japan that we can play.”

Russia captain Vasily Artemyev: “You could see throughout the game we stuck to our game plan. A few penalties and a couple of missed opportunities, those are the things that made the difference in the end.

“Everyone could see we were playing at the same intensity as Japan. We were pushing them to the edges and we were getting some dividends.

“It was a huge effort from our players but I congratulate Japan on their performance.”

Analysis

2003 World Cup winner Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5 Live

It has been a great start to the tournament. The opening ceremony went fantastically well. Japan will review the game and could have scored more points but the result was right.

We have seen the strength of the tournament. You over-perform at a World Cup and become superhuman and some of those Russians put their bodies on the line.

Teams

Japan: Tupou; Matsushima, Lafaele, Nakamura, Lemeki; Tamura, Nagare; Inagaki, Horie, Valu; Van der Walt, Moore; Leitch, Labuschagne, Himeno.

Replacements: Sakate, Nakajima, Ji-won, Thompson, Tui, Tanaka, Matsuda, Yamanaka

Russia: Artemyev; Davydov, Ostroushko, Gerasimov, Golosnitskiy; Kushnarev, Dorofeev; Morozov, Selskii, Gotovtsev, Ostrikov, Fedotko, Zhivatov, Gadzhiev, Vavilin

Replacements: Matveev, Polivalov, Bitiev, Garbuzov, Sychev, Perov, Gaisin, Sozonov

Japan fans back their team
Japan’s fans are determined to embrace hosting their first Rugby World Cup

Vasyl Lomachenko beats Luke Campbell to retain lightweight world titles

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Lomachenko hits Campbell
Lomachenko was taken the distance for only the fifth time as a professional

Vasyl Lomachenko produced a battling display to beat Britain’s Luke Campbell on points and add the WBC lightweight title to his WBA and WBO belts.

Lomachenko has also held world titles at featherweight and super-featherweight after an incredible amateur career that saw him win 396 out of 397 bouts and also win Olympic gold medals in Beijing in 2008 and in London four years later.

Now, less than five miles from where he won that second gold medal and in his first professional fight in Europe, Lomachenko dazzled from the off.

Before the fight, Hearn said it was an “honour” to get the Ukrainian to fight in the UK – and he did not disappoint.

The right jab proved a constant menace and the left was dangerous, twice rocking Campbell’s head back as early as the third round.

He also provided some brutal body shots, leaving Campbell wincing in pain in the fourth.

Lomachenko told BBC Radio 5 Live: “He has big amateur experience, he’s a smart fighter, a technical fighter and you saw his reach so of course it was hard for me.

“He gave me a good experience and a good fight. I want a unification fight for the four belts.”

Campbell leaves with his head held high

In the build-up to this fight, legendary promoter Bob Arum said Lomachenko was the greatest technical fighter in boxing since Muhammad Ali and afterwards also compared him to other greats including Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, Oscar de la Hoya and Manny Pacquiao.

So to go the distance shows what a gutsy effort it was from Campbell.

This was his second world title shot after he lost on a controversial split decision against Jorge Linares in the US in September 2017.

On that occasion, Campbell, whose father died two weeks before the fight, was knocked down in the second but fought back, and later insisted he won the fight by a two-round margin.

But against Lomachenko it never looked likely that Campbell, a 10-1 underdog, would get the victory, as the Ukrainian was too good, despite the Briton being two inches taller and having a five-inch reach advantage.

Lomachenko was fighting a British opponent for only the second time, after knocking out former world champion Anthony Crolla in the fourth round in the US earlier this year.

Campbell managed to go the distance, but a shock win was not to happen.

Vasyl Lomachenko
Lomachenko wants to become undisputed world champion

Analysis – ‘Campbell made the magician look normal’

Former world champion Carl Frampton: “I never expected that. It was down to Luke Campbell who showed such skill alongside grit and determination. His stock has risen dramatically tonight even though he is the loser. I think Lomachenko underplayed how hard that was. I think it’s the toughest fight he has had as a professional.”

BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello: “Three of the four versions of the title now rest with Vasyl Lomachenko. But people who haven’t seen it won’t realise how hard he has had to work for it.”

BBC Radio 5 Live boxing expert Steve Bunce: “We came for sorcery and were given a display of old-fashioned grit, determination and heart and desire. Such bravery, such guts. The points mean nothing. Luke Campbell made the magician look normal.”

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