Battling Jessica Ennis-Hill is playing a waiting game

No repeat of Super Saturday for heptathlete, who must decide whether to go to Moscow

the Olympic Stadium

A year on, a different name, a different aim. There was no smile from Jessica Ennis-Hill when she was introduced to the gleeful audience shoe-horned into the Olympic Stadium, no wave, just a tension-edged stare down the home straight. A year ago she had launched her heptathlon with a statement run in the 100m hurdles, yesterday all she wanted was to get to the other end in one piece.

It was the first hurdles Ennis-Hill has run since that Friday morning when the eyes of a nervous nation focused upon her and the blue strapping around her left Achilles provided evidence as to why. That strapping was why this time she was the one feeling the strain, juggling pre-race nerves.

Ennis-Hill's 2013, with its focus on next month's world championship, has undergone a stuttering start and it may yet prove an absolute non-starter. Her participation in Moscow remains in the balance – having completed the hurdles and the long jump yesterday she and her coach, Tony Minichiello, will wait 48 hours to see how the troublesome Achilles responds, then there will be a further waiting game before a final decision is made on whether to take on the world two weeks from now. The odds do not look good.

"It was frustrating because I always want to be at my best and I'm obviously not at my best at the moment," Ennis-Hill said. "It is great to be here – I am so glad I competed and got to experience this whole crowd again but I'm definitely not where I want to be.

"[The Achilles has] been ok – it's definitely getting better. I need to see how it is tomorrow. It is that difficult decision of deciding whether I am ready enough to go and contend. I hate making decisions as well. I will have to sit down with coach and decide what is best. I was so ready last time [for the Olympics], in the best shape of my life, so to come here and not quite be ready and be a bit apprehensive about my injury is totally different."

Ennis-Hill wants to make a decision as soon as possible so she can prepare herself mentally as well as physically. It is not only the injury that threatens to keep Britain's golden girl at home. She insists she will only go to Moscow if she believes she can win gold and reclaim the title she won four years ago.

The 27-year-old was not impressed with her run in the hurdles, crossing the line fourth behind the Olympic champion Sally Pearson and Britain's Tiffany Porter, who underlined her own medal chances at the worlds. Ennis-Hill's time of 13.08sec was well adrift of the 12.54 mark she set a year ago – a time good enough to have earned gold in all but two previous Olympics – and despite her rustiness that was not good enough for the Briton.

"This was very nerve-wracking," she said. "It was my first race back and I couldn't prepare as best as I wanted. I was disappointed with my time. I'm lacking speed work at the moment, having just started training this week."

Minichiello concurred with his charge's verdict. "She will be a little bit disappointed with that time but you have to balance that with the fact she came through fourth," he said. "There are positives and negatives and we will sit down and discuss it. She's probably where you'd expect her to be at the start of the season."

The problem is, it is not the start of the season. Once the injury has been assessed tomorrow or Tuesday, Minichiello will decide whether Ennis-Hill will have another hurdles outing before Moscow – probably at a UK Women's League meeting next Saturday. The championships start on 10 August.

An hour and a half after the hurdles, and a switch of shoes from red to yellow, Ennis-Hill was noticeably more relaxed before the long jump – a wave and that familiar smile and then when she took her place on the runway she geed up the crowd, something that was by no means a necessity on an afternoon when anything that moved was greeted with rousing acclaim.

She finished eighth with a modest 6.16m – having jumped 6.26m at Loughborough earlier in the week. Once again it was not what she was looking for. "I don't want to go [to Moscow] and not be ready, not be competitive," she said. "I've got more to lose than to gain so I want to go there and be a contender."

The long jump was won by Briton Katarina Johnson-Thompson, herself a champion heptathlete in the making. The 20-year-old won it with her final jump of 6.46m – creating a mini-Super Saturday moment as her winning leap coincided with Mo Farah's surge to victory – and will go to Moscow full of confidence.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing