Katarina Johnson-Thompson has ended her wait for her first global outdoor title by powering to heptathlon gold at the World Championships.
The 26-year-old, previously without an outdoor medal at this level, won with a British record 6,981 points, beating 2017 champion Nafissatou Thiam by 304 points.
Austria’s Verena Preiner took third.
It is Great Britain’s third medal in Doha following Dina Asher-Smith’s 200m gold and 100m silver.
“This is the result of so many attempts of trying to perform on this stage,” Johnson-Thompson told BBC Sport.
“The low moments have helped me come back and look at myself. This has been my dream.
“It has been such a long road. I am just happy that I’m coming into my best in these two big years.
“I just want more.”
Johnson-Thompson led Thiam by 137 points going into the concluding 800m and stormed to victory in two minutes 07.26 seconds – her fourth personal best of the competition.
The omens looked good for her when in the first event on day one she took 0.21 seconds off her previous best to win the 100m hurdles in 13.09 seconds.
The Briton’s high jump of 1.95cm was matched by Thiam, before she scored a huge personal best in the shot put – one of her weaker events. The distance of 13.86m was 71cm further than she had ever gone before.
After the 200m, the Briton had a 96-point overnight lead over the Belgian, nine better than her advantage at last year’s European Championships where she eventually finished second.
The pattern continued on Thursday as Johnson-Thompson’s consistency, paired with a below-par Thiam, saw the Liverpool athlete extend her lead.
In the long jump, another of her strong events, she leapt to 6.77m. Thiam, who managed 6.86m in Birmingham in August and defeated the Briton, could only register 6.40m.
Then came the moments that effectively clinched gold for Johnson-Thompson as first she recorded another PB by throwing the javelin to 43.93m before Thiam, who had been struggling with an elbow injury, only managed 48.04m – her best is 59.32m – and skipped her final throw.
That gave Johnson-Thompson the 137-point lead over the Belgian going into the 800m, having previously trailed her rival at this stage.
She kept her cool during the final event which she won before laying down on the track to contemplate what she had achieved.
Her points total surpassed the previous British best of 6,955 set by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill at the London 2012 Olympics.
Thiam finished with 6,677 points with bronze medallist Preiner on 6,560.
Johnson-Thompson breaks through after previous heartaches
To some, it has taken longer than expected for Johnson-Thompson to reach this level, with errors costing her medals at previous championships, coupled with the emergence of Thiam.
When double world and 2012 Olympic champion Ennis-Hill was coming towards the end of her career, the focus turned to the young pretender to continue the great recent tradition of British heptathlon success. But luck and form kept deserting Johnson-Thompson.
She finished well down the heptathlon field at the 2015 Worlds after three fouls in the long jump, while below-par performances in the shot put and javelin cost her a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
At the London 2017 World Championships, she underperformed in one of her favourite events – the high jump – which again damaged her podium hopes.
By this stage she had moved her training base to Montpellier in France where she has been coached by Bertrand Valcin, who also works with Kevin Mayer, the world record holder in the decathlon.
Johnson-Thompson finally began to see positive effects from the move last year when she won the World Indoor pentathlon gold and the Commonwealth title before taking silver behind Thiam at the European Championships in Berlin.
A new personal-best score of 6,813 followed in winning at the traditional multi-event Gotzis meeting this year, and now she has eclipsed all of her previous achievements with success in Doha.
‘She has slayed the dragon’ – analysis
London 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill on BBC TV in Doha:
To come back and deliver in this way with all these personal bests is incredible.
You have to get to the lowest point, the breaking point.
She got to that and she made big changes and decisions and they are the reason she has gone on to improve and become the world champion now.
Four-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson on BBC TV in Doha:
She has slayed the dragon and banished the demons. What you used to see between events was a worry that the demons are going to come back. She has now overcome that.
She is smiling and happy but she is focused. The difference now is she is focused on execution and technique.
Muir into 1500m final as Naser stuns Miller-Uibo in 400m
Laura Muir booked her place in Saturday’s 1500m final by finishing third in her semi-final.
The 26-year-old had not raced since July before arriving in Doha because of injury, but qualified third fastest in four minutes 1.05 seconds.
Fellow Briton Sarah McDonald missed out.
USA’s Jenny Simpson ran 4:00.99 to qualify fastest while Dutch 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan also progressed.
The Dutchwoman, who broke the world mile record this year, was a lot slower as she won her semi-final in 4:14.69.
Briton Sophie McKinna, 25, finished 11th in the shot put final. The Great Yarmouth athlete threw a personal best of 18.61m to qualify but only managed 17.99m on Thursday. China’s Gong Lijiao defended her title with a throw of 19.55m
Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser ran the third fastest women’s 400m time in history and the fastest for 34 years as she stunned Shaunae Miller-Uibo to take gold in 48.14 seconds.
The Bahamian was favourite going into the race having not lost a 200m or 400m race in 2019.
But she was left chasing throughout with Naser improving on her silver from two years ago. Miller-Uibo’s time of 48.37 is a personal best and the sixth fastest of all time.
Germany’s Niklas Kaul, 21, scored 8,691 points to become the youngest decathlon world champion and set a new under-23 record.
Maicel Uibo of Estonia took silver and Canada’s Damian Warner was third.
French London 2017 champion and world record holder Mayer pulled out during the pole vault with an injury he appeared to sustain in the 110m hurdles.
Britons Jake Wightman, Josh Kerr and Neil Gourley all comfortably qualified for Friday’s men’s 1500m semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Spaniard Orlando Ortega will receive a 110m hurdles bronze having been impeded by Omar McLeod during Wednesday’s final.
The Jamaican’s tumble forced Ortega to slow and he eventually finished fifth. The original bronze medallist, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, will keep his medal.
Story from BBC News