Tokyo previews – Women’s Heptathlon

Nafissatou (Nafi) Thiam and Katerina Johnson-Thompson have won the last three major champs between them. Will anyone challenge the duopoly or will it be another duel in Tokyo? Here’s our women’s heptathlon preview.


Wednesday 4 August (all UK Time) – 100m Hurdles – 01:35, High Jump – 02:35, Shot Put – 11:05, 200m – 12.30

Thursday 5 August – Long Jump – 01:40, Javelin – 04:30, 800m – 13:20

2021 Biggest Scores

2021 RankingsScoreAthleteCountry
16703Annie KunzUSA
26683Kendell WilliamsUSA
36667Erica BougardUSA
46651Xénia KrizsánHungary
56536Anouk VetterNetherlands
66437Yorgelis RodríguezCuba
76418Tyra GittensTrinidad & Tobago
86358Ninali ZhengChina
96352Michelle AtherleyUSA
106346Evelis Jazmin AguilarColombia
106346Ekaterina VoroninaUzbekhistan

British interest

Katarina Johnson-Thompson ruptured her achilles tendon at the end of 2020 and has been in a race to the Tokyo start line. She was eighth in the Gateshead long jump, well below her best jumping 6.10m (her PB is 6.92). If she wins Tokyo gold then it will be one of the greatest comebacks in British Olympic history.

The favourites

Nafi Thiam could only take silver in the Doha world champs behind Johnson-Thompson but has enjoyed an injury free 2021. She won European indoor gold in the pentathlon earlier this year in a personal best and has jumped, thrown and hurdled well this year. The Belgian is the third best of all time and the only one in the field to have broken the 7000 point barrier (7013). She is a strong favourite to retain her Rio crown.

Johnson-Thompson has shown that at their respective bests there is barely anything between the two. Her PB is just behind on 6981. If she can give herself a chance going into the 800m then we could be in for an exciting finale.

Annie Kunz and Kendell Williams of the USA will both be in contention. Their marks this year are truly world class. If Williams can improve her shot put she could give herself a chance. Kunz is consistent across the board. For both it would be a first global medal. Erica Bougard makes up a strong US team and was fourth in the Doha. She could upgrade that in an open field.

Yorgelis Rodríguez was eighth in Götzis, improved in the Cuban champs but has scored 6742 in the past. If she can get towards that level then she will be in medal contention.

Xénia Krizsán won in Götzis impressively and will go into Tokyo confident of being in medal contention.

Noor Vidts was runner-up to Nafi Thiam in the Euro Indoors Champs, though she hasn’t yet reached that form outdoors.

Anouk Vetter won bronze in the 2017 World Champs and was second in Götzis. Her championship experience at the top may stand her in good stead.

Our medal prediction

  1. Nafi Thiam
  2. Annie Kunz
  3. Xénia Krizsán


WR: 7291 Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1988)

OR: 7291 Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1988 Seoul)

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Featured image “479 nafi thiam 800m” by babbo1957 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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