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FOUR YEARS ago Nafissatou Thiam placed 14th as a 17-year-old in the World Junior Championships during the same summer in which Jessica Ennis-Hill delighted home crowds with her golden performance at the London Games.

Fast forward one Olympic cycle and the brilliant young Belgian is now herself an Olympic gold medallist as she defeated the defending champion after an incredible PB-filled two days of action.

Nafissatou Thiam: set five PBs in seven events to claim a surprise gold

Thiam far exceeded her own expectations and also produced one of the surprises of the Games with her heptathlon win, achieving 6810 points compared to Ennis-Hill’s 6775 and Canada’s world pentathlon champion Brianne Theisen-Eaton’s 6653.

Setting personal bests in five of the seven events, 2014 European bronze medallist and last year’s European indoor pentathlon runner-up Thiam added more than 300 points to her own Belgian record and surprised herself with her achievement.

“It’s crazy. I wasn’t expecting that,” she said. “Maybe top eight, but not the gold.

“I still cannot believe it,” she added. “Olympic champion – it still sounds so big when I say it.”

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About AW – Athletics Weekly Magazine

RIO 2016 COVERAGE MEN 6 100m 10 400m 14 800m 16 10,000m 20 Pole vault 22 Long jump 24 Discus 26 20km walk WOMEN 30 100m 32 400m 34 10,000m 36 3000m steeplechase 38 Heptathlon 42 Marathon 44 Triple jump 45 Shot put 46 Hammer NEWS 52 Hudson-Smith arrives on world stage 54 Rooney motivated by Yousif injury 56 Ultra runner’s continental challenge PERFORMANCE 58 Sports science latest 60 Coach Insight – Matt Yates 62 Safety in throws events RESULTS & FIXTURES 64 Results round-up 77 What’s On – fixtures guide REGULARS 50 YOUNG ATHLETE Javelin thrower Bethany Moule 76 QUIZ CORNER Test your Olympic knowledge 82 DIP FINISH Shot champ out to change event’s image