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Katarina Johnson-Thompson put Jockeys through Heptahtlon Challenge

17 Jul 2018

Commonwealth Games Heptathlon Champion and QIPCO British Champions Series ambassador Katarina Johnson-Thompson puts jockeys James Doyle and Harry Bentley to the test

Katarina Johnson-Thompson Harry Bentley Jams Doyle

Gold medallist KJT teaches the two star jockeys the skills behind four heptathlon events – javelin, high jump, 200m and long jump – before they go head to head against each other.

As two stars of the racetrack currently riding high in the Stobart Jockey Championships, the Newmarket-based jockeys and close friends are used to being competitive with one another, and it was no different on the athletics track. The results of each event are close but one jockey is the clear winner.

James Doyle said, “Overall I think Katarina was pretty impressed with our efforts. She was really nice and it was great fun to do something completely different from what we’re used to. Harry is super competitive though so he was annoyed he couldn’t get one on the board.”

“I was a little sore for the next couple of days after the challenge which surprised me,” he also admitted.

Harry Bentley said, “It was brilliant and I have the utmost respect for Katarina and other athletes like her because there is so much skill involved in each of the heptathlon events. I think James and I found the fitness side alright but the movements are totally different from what we do on a daily basis so that was difficult.”

Katarina, who is scheduled to compete in the long jump and high jump this weekend at the Anniversary Games in London and at the European Athletics Championships in August, took time out of her busy training schedule to have some fun on the athletics track.

“This was something that I think was new and different for them. James and Harry train really hard to ride racehorses but I think they had a great time and a lot of laughs doing a different type of training,” she said.

“The focus jockeys put on their core training is amazing and there is a lot of similarities in how we both train in the gym. The guys were good sports, they picked up the heptathlon challenge events quickly and definitely showed their competitive sides too.”

So should James and Harry consider changing industries anytime soon?

The gold medallist shared, “their technique could still do with some work but I could never ride a racehorse like they do so I think they have more of a chance of becoming multi-event athletes than I do of becoming a jockey.”

Katarina will be at QIPCO British Champions Day on Saturday 20 October to witness the culmination of the 2018 series.