ONE of the most eagerly awaited clashes at this year’s Olympics, coronavirus permitting, will be the fight between Nafi Thiam and Katarina Johnson-Thompson for the heptathlon gold medal. That battle will be fought in the stadium, but it is intriguing to see who would come out ahead on paper, comparing their PBs in each individual event.
But why restrict this fantasy contest to them? Let’s bring in three other highly distinguished all-rounders from the last 30 years and see how it pans out.
Our dream field is European record-holder Carolina Klüft of Sweden (PB score of 7032 in 2007; gold medals at 2004 Olympics and 2003, 2005 and 2007 World Championships), Thiam of Belgium (PB 7013 in 2017; gold medals at 2016 Olympics and 2017 Worlds), Sabine Braun of Germany (PB 6985 in 1992; gold medals at 1991 and 1997 Worlds) and the British pair of Johnson-Thompson (PB 6981 in 2019; gold medal at 2019 Worlds) and Jessica Ennis-Hill (PB 6955 in 2012; gold medals at 2012 Olympics and 2009, 2011 and 2015 Worlds).
Ennis-Hill storms into the lead
The opening event is the 100m hurdles and Jess gets off to a flying start as she is the only world-class exponent at this discipline. The British athlete wins by close to five metres in 12.54 and has an immediate lead of 78 points. Result: 1. Jess 12.54 (1195 points); 2. Sabine 13.05 (1117); 3. Kat 13.09 (1111); 4. Carolina 13.15 (1102); 5. Nafi 13.34 (1074).
Thiam makes up ground
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WHEN looking for a trail or off-road running shoe, it’s often all about the grip. However, given that no two paths are the same, careful consideration is required. What’s the terrain like where you’ll wear the shoes the most? If you’ll be negotiating soft, wet and muddy conditions then look for deeper lugs. For tackling gravel tracks and forest trails then more evenly spaced lugs will work better. When it comes to cushioning, consider how hard the ground will be; if it’s soft then you’ll be fine in low-profile shoes, but on those firmer tracks reasonable cushioning will be called for.
WHEN it comes to ‘over-pronation’, a common question is ‘how much is over?’. With no hard and fast rules, it’s best to choose a shoe that instinctively feels right. Gait analysis can often assist in helping you make this choice and your specialist running store is always a good place to start if in doubt. To help you make that choice, here’s a selection of some of the best ‘support’ shoes around.
Need for speed
THE racing shoe segment of the market is becoming somewhat split. This is partially due to the rise of carbon-plated footwear but also the fact that many shoes are becoming much lighter. Here we take a look at some of the leading contenders to toe the line in.
You'd have had to have been running on a different planet to miss all the recent debate about carbon-plated shoes. The talk of bans and performance enhancement has been so widespread that even non-runners are asking their running friends about the potentially magical footwear.
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