Jessica Ennis was returning home from her latest heptathlon success yesterday with thoughts of not just the one shot at Olympic glory in London in 2012, but two.
In the wake of the Sheffield athlete's emphatic weekend victory in the Gotzis Hypo-Meeting in Austria – effectively a world championship in a season without a global competition on the calendar – her coach, Toni Minichiello, revealed he had made a tentative approach to ask whether the athletics schedule for the Games could be designed to allow Ennis to contest both the seven-event heptathlon and also an individual discipline, probably the 100 metres hurdles.
Two years and a month out from the home Olympics, Ennis has established herself as the clear leader of the global pack in the heptathlon, having won the outdoor world title in Berlin last August, the world indoor pentathlon in Doha in March and the prestigious Gotzis heptathlon. Such is the range of her talents, though, that the 24-year-old also happens to be a world-class competitor as a hurdler and high jumper.
At the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow in January, Ennis beat LoLo Jones, at the time the reigning world indoor champion, en route to a British indoor 60m hurdles record of 7.95sec. She is also joint holder of the British high jump record, 1.95m and stands joint-fifth in the world ranking list in that event. Ennis could be a potential finalist in either the 100m hurdles or the high jump but would need the 2012 schedulers to put the two-day heptathlon at the beginning of the track and field programme and her individual event towards the end.
"If the timetable did permit, and I kept on improving, then I'd love to do the hurdles as well as the heptathlon," Ennis said yesterday. "I wanted to do it at the World Championships last summer but it was just too close. There wasn't enough time to recover. If there's time to recover in London, then I'd love to do it. You might as well give it your all in a home Olympics. I hope they'll be able to pull a few strings to let it happen."
Minichiello is already on the case. "I've raised it with a couple of people on the technical side at UK Athletics," he said. "I've highlighted the possibility of Jessica doubling up, doing the high jump or hurdles – more likely the hurdles.
"The opportunity to do it will come round only once in her lifetime, so why not? Michael Johnson made the request for 1996 [for the 200m and 400m to be kept apart on the programme] and it worked out for him."
*European indoor 3,000m champion Mo Farah returned to form in the Bupa London 10,000m yesterday, outsprinting Kenya's Micah Kogo to win in 27min 44sec, a UK road best for the distance.Reuse content