Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the newly crowned golden girl of British athletics, will be going for a double when she makes her debut in the Great CityGames Manchester on Saturday 9 May.

Last Friday, Johnson-Thompson confirmed her status as the world's leading current all-round female athlete. She claimed her first senior international title, smashing Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill's British record, on the way to the pentathlon gold medal at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague.

Now the Liverpool Harrier with the double-barrelled name has set her sights on a double challenge, when she makes her first appearance at the Great CityGames Manchester, in front of the live BBC cameras in her native North West.

Johnson-Thompson intends to contest the 200m hurdles on the purpose built temporary track that runs down the middle of Deansgate and also the long jump in the specially constructed field arena in Albert Square.

In doing so, the 22-year-old will be following in the footsteps of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford, who have all starred in front of 20,000 crowds in the six year history of the hugely popular city centre event in the heart of Manchester.

"I've haven't taken part in either of the Great CityGames events before so I'm really looking forward to making my debut in Manchester in May,” said Johnson-Thompson.

“I've seen the events on television before and love the idea of competing so close to the public. I can't wait to experience it first-hand for the first time.

“It will also be great to compete on home soil in front of a British crowd - all the more so, close to home in the North-West.

“My main aim this summer is the World Championships in Beijing in August and competing in the two events in the Great CityGames Manchester will be great preparation for my first heptathlon of the year at Gotzis at the end of May."

Despite missing the Commonwealth Games and European Championships last summer because of a stress fracture in her right foot, Johnson-Thompson finished 2014 as the world's number one heptathlete thanks to the lifetime best points tally of 6,682 points that she scored in winning the classic Hypo event at Gotzis in Austria.

Having now claimed the European indoor pentathlon title, with a British record score of 5,000 points, she will be keen to maintain her status as world, European and British number one when she defends her Gotzis crown against the returning Ennis-Hill and the likes of European indoor 60m champion Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, in Austria on May 30-31.

That, in turn, will be a prelude to the Liverpudlian's attempt to take the heptathlon title at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August – and to challenge Ennis-Hill, who is on the comeback trail after the birth of her son Reggie last year, for the Olympic crown in Rio next year.

The Great CityGames Manchester will be held on Saturday 9 May in Manchester City Centre and will be shown live on BBC One and BBC One HD from 13:00 – 15:00. The event is part of a weekend-long celebration of sport in the city which includes Europe's biggest 10K event, the Morrisons Great Manchester Run on Sunday 10 May.

 

Image courtesy of Mark Shearman Athletics Images