Katarina Johnson-Thompson withdraws from European Championship heptathlon

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Katarina Johnson-Thompson has withdrawn from the heptathlon at the European Championships after competing in the first morning of competition in Rome.

The Liverpool-born heptathlete trailed two-time Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam by 143 points following the 100 metres hurdles and the high jump.

Johnson-Thompson, the reigning world champion, ran 13.66 seconds in the hurdles, more than half a second down on her personal best, before jumping 1.83 metres in the high jump.

However, she has developed a niggle in her right leg and has decided to be withdraw as a cautionary measure ahead of the Olympics this summer.

Her coach, Aston Moore, saids: “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.

“We don’t want to risk losing any time from training which could be the result if she was to carry competing with it for another day.”

The European Championships continue with fellow British athlete Jade O’Dowda two places behind Johnson-Thompson before her withdrawal.

Elsewhere, Jemma Reekie led three British qualifiers into the women’s 1,500m final along with Georgia Bell and Katie Snowden, while Elliot Giles and Thomas Randolph reached the men’s 800m semi-finals.

Lawrence Okoye reached the men’s discus final, Jacob Fincham-Dukes jumped 8.18m to progress in the men’s long jump and Lizzie Bird made the women’s steeplechase final.

Additional reporting by PA.