Katarina Johnson-Thompson to long jump at Stockholm Diamond League

Heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson will be part of an innovative long-jump competition at the Stockholm Diamond League on Sunday.

Instead of the event being decided by the best effort from six rounds, the top three jumpers after five rounds will then contest a one-jump final.

In-form Scot Jemma Reekie, 22, will take on a high-class 800m field.

American Raevyn Rogers, who won silver at the World Championships in Doha, will be among Reekie’s opposition, although Ugandan world champion Halimah Nakaayi is absent after coronavirus restrictions forced her to return home after last week’s Diamond League event in Monaco.

Reekie has won all three of her 800m outings this season and will arrive in Sweden off the back of victory in the 1500m in a second-tier event in Poland on Wednesday.

Her training partner Laura Muir, who set a new British 1,000m record in Monaco, is in a 1500m race that also features Kenya’s world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri, and Shannon Rowbury of the United States.

Norway’s Karsten Warholm competes in the 400m hurdles while fellow world champion Timothy Cheruiyot renews his rivalry with teenage European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the 1500m.

Great Britain’s Holly Bradshaw, who finished fourth in Doha, is in the pole vault competition.

Innovation or outrage?

Stockholm is only the second stop of a Diamond League circuit that has been shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Diamond League chief executive Petr Stastny believes that, with the Olympic Games postponed to 2021, it provides the perfect chance to experiment with the long jump.

“This format is likely to reward athletes who have the ability to perform under the most intense pressure,” he said.

“We think it will bring more drama to the field events as nothing will be decided until the very last performance.”

However, several of the world’s best athletes disapprove.

“It’s not innovation but it is a mess,” Olympic long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta told BBC Sport.

The American said the new format “diminishes the work” of all jumpers.

“They are sacrificing the athlete and their effort for the hope that a spectator is going to care about that moment of drama, when the entire long jump competition is dramatic,” she added.

“There are lead changes, different narratives and if the announcers at the meeting did a better job of relaying that to the spectators, we wouldn’t have to do these gimmick type things.”

Four-time world champion Brittney Reese tweeted “leave the field events alone!” while Olympic great Carl Lewis dismissed the changes as “silly”.

“So many great performances happen in the last round. Now this opportunity will be taken from them,” said world and Olympic triple jump champion and athletes’ union founder Christian Taylor.

“Surely a true measure of pressure is giving everyone a chance to win?” Britain’s London 2012 long jump champion Greg Rutherford added.

The ‘final-jump’ format was trialled at indoor events in Karlsruhe and Glasgow earlier this year.

Source — BBC Sports

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