Nafi Thiam takes gold in the heptathlon
Nafi Thiam has made history by becoming the first Belgian ever to take a gold medal in the same discipline at two successive Olympic games. After her gold medal success in Rio 5 years ago the 26-year-old took first place in the heptathlon competition at this year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
After Nina Derwael’s gold on the uneven bars and the Red Lions win in the men’s hockey, Nafi Thiam’s heptathlon gold is Belgium’s third gold medal at the Olympics so far. The last time Belgium won 3 gold medals was at the 1924 games in Paris.
Nafi Thiam won her second consecutive gold medal in the Olympic heptathlon on Thursday after dominating in the javelin and the long jump events to secure victory.
Thiam had ended Wednesday's programme third in the standings, telling reporters she was feeling poorly throughout the first four events. Thiam finished in her heat in the last event, the 800 meters. Nevertheless this was enough for her to take the gold with 6,791 points. She won ahead of Dutch pair Anouk Vetter in silver (6,689) and Emma Oosterwegel in bronze (6,590).
Despite winning the 800 metre race, another Belgian, Noor Vidts fell just short of taking bronze and finished 4th overall.
'It feels so good I can't believe it"
Speaking after her historic victory Nafi Thiam told journalist "The first day was difficult for me. So on day two I had to really focus," Thiam said. "I knew I had to do something really good in the long jump and javelin."
She delivered on that goal, launching a mighty 54.68m throw in the javelin on her second attempt, her best performance this season, and coming up with a 6.60m leap in the long jump before finishing with 6,791 points.
"My coach was so positive and told me he believed in me today," she said. "I am really happy I was able to go through that and put my performances together."
Thiam (26) became the first woman since Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1992 to win back-to-back Olympic heptathlon titles. She won the world title in 2017 and finished second at the 2019 World Championships.
"It feels so good. I can't believe it. I am so emotional I can't describe it," she added.