With gold at the World Cup in Eugene, Nafi Thiam has achieved her big goal of this summer. It is not yet certain whether the two-time world champion in the heptathlon will also go to the European Championships. “We’ll see,” says Thiam, who also seems to have the world record in her head.
Nafi Thiam enjoyed her world title on Tuesday in the athletics stadium in Eugene, where she was a spectator at the finals of the 400 meters hurdles for the men and the high jump for the women.
“The atmosphere in the stadium was great. The audience is very enthusiastic and creates a lot of atmosphere, although I was tired. I didn’t sleep very much. After a tiring heptathlon I always have trouble sleeping,” Thiam tells. our man in Eugene.
The day before, she took her 2nd World Cup gold in the heptathlon in the same stadium. “I already realize what I’ve accomplished. The competition was very tough, but I’m proud that I won the gold,” says Thiam.
Eugene was my big target this season and I’ve never done two heptathlons in one month. We will see.
Due to the corona pandemic, it is an atypical athletics year, with the European Championships in Munich next month. What does the near future look like for the two-time world champion? “I will stay in Eugene until the end of the World Cup”, Thiam reveals, who is not yet sure whether she will go to Munich later.
“Eugene was my big target this season and I’ve never done two heptathlon in one month. That’s very difficult at this level. We’ll see. I’m definitely not going to risk my next seasons to necessarily participate in Munich.”
“If I feel a week before the European Championship that I am not going to go, then I will not go. I do not want to start a heptathlon to stop halfway through or worse: to injure myself. I am looking forward to the European Championship. I like competition But I have to be careful with my body, because the period between the World Cup and the European Championship is very short.”
“Points interest me more than titles”
Nafi Thiam now has 2 world titles and 2 Olympic and 1 European title in the heptathlon. The 27-year-old Belgian does not say it in so many words, but now seems to aim for the world record.
Thiam’s personal best is now 7,013 points. Only Carolina Kluft (7,032) and the legendary Jackie Joyner-Kersee ever did better. Joyner-Kersee, the world record holder since 1988, has passed the 7,000 mark 6 times and is still at a lonely height with 7,291 points.
Added up all of Thiam’s personal records, our compatriot on paper amounts to a total score of 7,277 points. Then the world record is no longer so far off.
With two world titles I am now doing as well as Joyner-Kersee, but points interest me more than titles. I hope I can make progress in that area.
“With two world titles, I am now doing just as well as Joyner-Kersee, but points interest me more than titles. I hope I can still make progress in that area. I am working hard on that in training,” says Thiam.
“Anyway, 2 world titles and 2 Olympic titles, that has not happened often and it also shows how difficult it is. I am proud of that.”
“And you also want to win championships, although I would have been proud if I had come second with the same number of points (6,947 points, her second best performance, ed.).
In Eugene, Thiam set personal bests in the 100m hurdles and 800m. “I’ve changed some things in training and I’m grateful that I’m reaping the benefits. The fact that I’m still making progress keeps me motivated.”