In-form Johnson-Thompson targets Rio glory
(Reuters) - Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson has set her sights on winning a first Olympic heptathlon gold medal in Rio next month after she confirmed her good form with some fine individual performances at the London Anniversary Games last weekend.
The 23-year-old won the long jump on day two of the Diamond League event with a season's best 6.84 metres on Saturday and produced an outdoor best 1.95m high jump the previous day.
Returning from injury, Johnson-Thompson clinched a place in the Olympic team after she accumulated the required 6,200 points at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis in May to join compatriot Jessica Ennis-Hill in the Rio lineup.
"I definitely have time but I want to win it now. The thought of winning motivates me more," she told British media.
"When you are doing hard training you can think about past experiences which can get you up for that last rep, but in competition you just have to be smart. At that stage, positive reinforcement is better than negative."
Olympic champion Ennis-Hill, who is favourite to retain the gold medal, endured a mixed couple of days as she pulled out her second best 100m hurdles time on Friday but followed that with a tepid showing in the long jump, finishing seventh with 6.19m.
"Not at the minute. I feel that people expect Jess to win this year, so it would be an added bonus if I could," Johnson-Thompson said when asked if she feels pressure to follow in Ennis-Hill's footsteps.
"Maybe in four years time, but I don't feel any pressure right now."
Johnson-Thompson, who fell out of contention at last year's world championships in Beijing after registering three consecutive fouls in the long jump, was eager to avoid repeating such mistakes in Rio.
"You can't ever prepare for that apart from in competition, because you know it is fake. You can't do it unless you are put in a high-pressure situation," she added.
"World championships come round every two years, so it's not as big as an Olympics. I can rectify Beijing next year but with the Olympic Games, I would have to wait four years."
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien)