Athletics-Vetter and Thiam set for thrilling heptathlon 800m decider

By Mitch Phillips

EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) – The World Championships heptathlon is set for an exciting 800 metres finale on Monday as Anouk Vetter of the Netherlands found her second-day form to take a slender 19-point lead over Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam after the first six events.

After ranking fifth in the opening 100m hurdles with a personal best of 13.21 seconds on Sunday, Thiam, the double Olympic gold medallist and world champion in 2017, put together her usual consistent performances in high jump, shot and 200 metres to open a healthy lead and her first day total of 4,071 points was her highest in a major championships.

Vetter, silver medallist in Tokyo, ended Sunday’s morning programme with a shot put pb of 16.25 metres that propelled her from seventh to second on the back of her best first-day tally of 4,010 points.

She then produced another pb of 6.52m in the long jump and followed up with a 58.29m javelin throw that was good enough to edge her clear of her great rival.

Vetter has 6,045 points and her 19-point advantage equates to around a second in the 800m, where Thiam’s personal best of 2:15.24 is 2.5 seconds quicker than Vetter’s.

American Anna Hall, 21, is some way back in third but as one of the fastest 800m runners in the field looks set to collect bronze.

Britain’s defending champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who edged out Thiam in the 2019 worlds, was below-par throughout and was in eighth place going into the final event.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ken Ferris)