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"Queen of 2018" Nafi Thiam beats Johnson-Thompson to complete heptathlon Grand Slam

She did it again: Olympic and World Champion Nafi Thiam won the women's heptathlon in Berlin to clinch the European title, completing a so-called Grand Slam. Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thomspon had to be content with silver. Thiam made the difference with the javelin. 

Nafissatou Thiam has confirmed her status as the world's best overall female athlete. After grabbing Olympic and World Gold, the Belgian added a European title to her impressive record, and this at just 23 years of age (she turns 24 later this month). 

However, this time, Thiam had a fierce battle on her hands. After a poor start, she went into the second day in second place. Beaten in the long jump by Johnson-Thompson (6.60 metres versus 6.68), Thiam made the difference with a wonderful javelin throw of  57.91 metres, her second best throw ever. Johnson-Thompson set a personal best of 42.16m there, but this was of no avail considering Thiam's feat.

Thiam kept calm: she could afford to lose 13 seconds in the concluding 800 metres

The Belgian grabbed the lead and also created a gap which put her in a comfortable position: she could lose as many as 13 seconds in the concluding 800 metres to take the gold. Despite her British rival setting the pace and putting up the pressure in the 800m, Thiam kept calm and run at her own pace, staying well within the margin that she could afford. 

With 6,816 points, Thiam set a season's best in the discipline. Johnson-Thompson had 6,759 points, Germany's Caroline Schäfer 6,602. After her victory, Thiam received a crown which said "Queen of 2018". 

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

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