Olympic athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson puts jockeys James Doyle and Harry Bentley through their paces in ultimate heptathlon challenge

OLYMPIC heptahlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson has put top jockeys James Doyle and Harry Bentley to the test in the ultimate heptathlon challenge.

The riders quit their day job for a few hours of athletics to have a go at the javelin, high jump, 200m and long jump.

Picture courtesy of QIPCO British Champions Series

Johnson-Thompson gave them a tutorial in the four events before they competed against each other, but in the end Doyle was a clear winner.

He 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.”

Both jockeys are close friends on and off the racecourse, but that didn’t stop their competitive nature coming through.

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.”

James Doyle won the Irish Oaks at the weekend aboard Sea Of Class
PA:Press Association

Johnson-Thompson took time out of her busy schedule, which includes competing in the long jump and high jump this weekend at the Anniversary Games in London and at the European Athletics Championships in August, to coach the two young riders in support of QIPCO’S British Champions Series.

She said afterwards: “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.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson in action at the Anniversary Games
Getty Images – Getty

As ambassador for the QIPCO British Champions Series for the second year in a row, Johnson Thompson is aware how tough a jockey’s training regime can be.

“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,” she added.

“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!”




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One comment

  1. Awesome! what are the other commenters on about, what has his face got to do with being a good dad. He has admitted his kids come first, there is nothing worse that growing up in a home where mum and dad are constantly arguing, staying together for the kids can make the kids life worse.

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