August 5, 2017 / 9:26 PM / 8 months ago

Schafer leads heptathlon narrowly from favourite Thiam

LONDON (Reuters) - Germany’s Carolin Schafer led the heptathlon standings after four events at the World Championships on Saturday after achieving a personal best in the shot put.

Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Women's High Jump Heptathlon – London Stadium, London, Britain - August 5, 2017. Carolin Schafer of Germany reacts. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Schafer, who has never won a medal at senior level, tops the standings on 4,036 points with last year’s Olympic champion and favourite Nafi Thiam not far behind on 4,014.

Schafer’s 13.09 seconds in the 100 metres hurdles gave her an early advantage over her Belgian rival, but Thiam finished first in the high jump and the shot put to accrue valuable points.

“I’m very happy with my first day especially as I came into this in bad shape. I’m looking forward to the next three events,” the 25-year-old Schafer said.

Athletics - World Athletics Championships – women’s heptathlon 200 m qualifying round – London Stadium, London, Britain – August 5, 2017 – Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium and Eliska Klucinova of the Czech Republic react after the heat. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Thiam remained confident.

“The challenge is hard but you have to be able to be solid but have a big performance on a few events,” she said. “It is easy to make a mistake in seven events.”

Athletics - World Athletics Championships – Women's Heptathlon Shot Put - London Stadium, London, Britain - August 5, 2017. Carolin Schafer of Germany in action. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

There was disappointment for home favourite Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who is bidding to emulate her compatriot and three-times world champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.

She came sixth in her favourite event, the high jump, but brought herself back into contention in the 200m, winning her heat in 22.86 seconds to finish the day fourth on 3,838 points, behind Cuba’s Yorgelis Rodriguez on 3,905.

The heptathlon concludes on Sunday with the long jump, javelin and 800 metres.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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