All the Athletics News from the Mersey…
World-class Boccia comes to Liverpool and KTJ’s journey to the 2017 World’s.
Liverpool hosting 2018’s World Boccia Championships
You could be forgiven for mistaking Boccia for a kind of Italian bread, but in fact it’s a precision ball sport, similar to the British game of boules or the Italian bocce, that has been designed specifically for people of severe physical disabilities to play. Teams from all around the world will travel to Liverpool to compete in the 2nd Boccia World Championships which will take place at the Exhibition Centre, just down from the city’s iconic Albert Docks.
Team GB took home one gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, but this only showed a glimmer of the potential that our British athletes have. During the last dedicated international Boccia tournament, the BISFED 2016 World Open, British athletes regularly took the top spots in a number of the categories, suggesting that the best is still yet to come from our current crop of Boccia players. We’ll just have to wait until August next year to find out – the tournament will take place from the 9th to the 19th.
Local hero Katarina Johnson-Thompson falls short at World Champs
Ask any Scouser who Katarina Johnson-Thompson is and they’ll be able to tell you. The now 24-year old local girl first made local news headlines when she broke Jessica Ennis-Hill’s junior Heptathlon record at the 2009 World Championships. After winning gold there she was soon working her way to achieve the 6,150 points that are required to qualify for the Olympics. By 2012 she had done this and was ready to compete in the London 2012 Games; although she finished in 15th place, she was highlighted as a prospect for the future.
Three years later and she was performing on the world stage once more, this time in Beijing at the 2015 World Championships. In arguably her most disappointing performance, KTJ struggled to complete her long jump attempts, eventually finishing 28th in the event. This was an even more disappointing turn of events, considering that she had been sitting in 2nd place behind Jessica Ennis after the first day of the event.
With a dramatic build up such as this laying the groundwork to her return to the World Championships in London this year, the pressure was on for Katarina to perform in front of a home crowd that expected her to return in a big way. Unfortunately, despite her best efforts she fell short of the 1.86 barrier, this time in the high jump event, leaving her in 5th place at the end of the Championships. Despite these losses, the future still looks bright for KTJ – she’s certainly come along way from her practice track in Wavertree!