Ennis focuses on 2012 after disastrous javelin skewers golden hopes

Sheffield athlete promises to 'work a bit harder' to ensure Olympic victory in London after she loses title to talented Russian Chernova

It was probably not the coronation the head of the London 2012 Local Organising Committee had envisaged. When Sebastian Coe stepped forward to present the medals after the completion of the World Championship heptathlon yesterday, he found himself crowning a new global queen of the seven-event test of all-round athletic excellence. A Russian queen.

Before Tatyana Chernova received her reward for dethroning the pre-competition favourite, Jessica Ennis collected the runner-up prize from another great British athlete forged in Sheffield. She did so with a smile on her face and a wave to the crowd – not quite in the fashion of Lord Coe, back in his days as plain Seb, when he was presented with the Olympic 800m silver medal after losing to Steve Ovett in Moscow in 1980. "It was as though he was receiving a turd," Clive James observed at the time.

Having got herself in a mess by fouling up in the penultimate event yesterday, the javelin, Ennis was never going to come up smelling of roses, with a gold medal around her neck. She had thrown the spear some 45m in warm-up, yet when the pressure was on, after Chernova unleashed a mighty effort of 52.98m, the woman from the Steel City buckled, managing a best of only 39.95m – her worst mark in a heptathlon since 2007.

That left Ennis needing to beat Chernova by eight seconds in the final event, the 800m. It was never going to happen, barring the cunning plan suggested by the phantom tweeter Charles van Comedy being put into operation: "Texting Jenny Meadows, 'Throw on a dark wig, grab a quick spray tan and swap places with Jess in 800'."

As it was, true to her nature, Ennis gave it everything, haring round the first 200m in 28.33sec, through the bell in 60sec, and finishing in 2min 07.81sec, a personal best. It was not enough. Chernova finished hard on her heels, raising her arms in celebration as she crossed the line in 2:08.04.

Ennis sank to her knees on the Daegu Stadium track but was quickly up on her feet, stretching to embrace the 23-year-old Russian victor. Chernova – at 6ft 2in, taller by 10 inches – had finished behind her in all but two of the seven events (the javelin and the long jump) yet finished head and shoulders above on the scoreboard, the winner by 129 points. It was small consolation to Ennis, who amassed 6,751 points, that even her lifetime best score (6,823) would not have been sufficient to earn her a niche in the history books as the first British athlete to win back-to-back World Championship titles.

It took Chernova five years to fulfil the promise she showed as a trailblazing world junior champion but she did so with a tally of 6,880 points, the highest score since the peerless Swede Carolina Kluft signed off her unbeaten heptathlon career with a European record haul of 7,032 points at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka.

As Lord Coe hung the silver medal around Ennis's neck, he gave her a consoling pat on the shoulders and no doubt whispered words of encouragement for 2012. The big British hope for home gold next summer knows she has a more than worthy rival now, as well as a winter's worth of motivational fuel to sustain her through the hard slog of training that lies ahead.

"I think it's always been a matter of time for Chernova," Ennis reflected. "She's had all the components but just never put it all together in a big championships. She did here and I need to go away and work a bit harder so I can take her next year.

"Hats off to her. I'm not going to beat myself up. Coming here and defending my title was always going to be a tough ask and I've got a silver medal. I've not shed any tears but I might do soon. Of course I'm disappointed, because I wanted the gold, but it was obviously the javelin that let me down.

"I was devastated straight after the javelin. I knew I had thrown it away. But if this was going to happen I'd rather it was here this year, before the Olympics, because next year's when I want the gold."

Ennis and her long-time coach Toni Minichiello have overcome worse setbacks. Indeed, she had been undefeated in heptathlons until yesterday since overcoming the triple stress fracture of the right foot that ruled her out of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

When they have time to fully reflect on what was a great disappointment for themselves and for the Great Britain team, Ennis and her coach will not just rue the shaky start in the 100m hurdles and the high jump and the disaster of the javelin (which came after a career-best-equalling 6.51m effort in the long jump) but also the crucial training time lost in the spring to the foot injury that kept Ennis out of the European Indoor Championships in Paris.

Not that Minichiello was making excuses last night. "I've got to put my hand up," he said. "As a coach, I've not done my job. I've let Jess down to a certain extent. She was not well enough prepared and I've got to take responsibility for that because I'm the one who writes the training programme.

"I need to work a little harder and look at myself. Jess will do the same. She's not going to shirk and hide."

Pick of today's action

1am: Women's 20km walk:

The final of the women's 20km walk is the only event of the day, as the Championships reach their midway point. British hopes lie with Middlesbrough-born Jo Jackson, who became the first UK athlete to win a major walking title with gold at the last year's Commonwealth Games. Australia's Claire Tallent will be looking for revenge after silver in Delhi, while Russian defending champion, Olga Kaniskina, and her compatriot Vera Sokolova have been in excellent form again this season. The former is aiming to retain the title for a record third time.

World Championships results

IAAF World Championships, Daegu, South Korea:

Men 400m final: 1 K James (Gren) 44.60sec; 2 L Merritt (US) 44.63; 3 K Borlee (Bel) 44.90; 4 J Gonzales (Jam) 44.99; 5 J Borlee (Bel) 45.07; 6 R Bartholomew (Gren) 45.45; 7 T Henry (ISV) 45.55; 8 F Ogunode (Qatar) 45.55. 800m final: 1 D Lekuta Rudisha (Ken) 1min 43.91sec; 2 A Kaki (Sud) 1:44.41; 3 Y Borzakovskiy (Rus) 1:44.49; 4 M Lewandowski (Pol) 1:44.80; 5 N Symmonds (US) 1:45.12; 6 A Kszczot (Pol) 1:45.25; 7 A K Yego (Ken) 1:45.83; 8 M Aman (Eth) 1:45.93. Discus throw final: 1 R Harting (Ger) 68.97m; 2 G Kanter (Est) 66.95; 3 E Hadadi (Iran) 66.08; 4 M Israel (Est) 65.2; 5 B Harradine (Aus) 64.77; 6 V Alekna (Lith) 64.09; 7 V Gowda (India) 64.05; 8 J Y. Fernandez (Cuba) 63.54; 9 P Malachowski (Pol) 63.37; 10 J Young (US) 63.2; 11 M Pestano (Sp) 63; 12 B Morse (GB) 62.69. Selected GB heats: 1500m heat 1: 10 J Shane (GB) 3:41.17. 400m hurdles semi-final heat 1: 5 J Green (GB) 49.62. Heat 2: 1 D Greene (GB) 48.62sec Q. Heat 3: 6 N Woodward (GB) 49.57. High jump qualification group A: 11 T Parsons (GB) 2.25. Group B: 13 M Bernard (GB) 2.21.

Women 3,000m steeplechase final: 1 Y Zaripova (Rus) 9min 07.03sec; 2 H Ghribi (Tun) 9:11.97; 3 M C Cheywa (Ken) 9:17.16; 4 M Wanjiku Njoroge (Ken) 9:17.88; 5 L Chebet Rotich (Ken) 9:25.74; 6 S Assefa (Eth) 9:28.24; 7 B Uslu (Tur) 9:31.06; 8 H Ouhaddou (Morocco) 9:32.36; 9 G Felicitas Krause (Ger) 9:32.74; 10 B Fente (Eth) 9:36.81; 11 L Kharlamova (Rus) 9:44.14; 12 S Moreira (Portugal) 9:47.87; 13 E Coburn (US) 9:51.40; 14 B Parker (GB) 9:56.66; 15 B Adamu (Eth) 10:05.10. Pole vault final: 1 F Murer (Br) 4.85m; 2 M Strutz (Ger) 4.8; 3 S Feofanova (Rus) 4.75; 4 J Suhr (US) 4.7; 5 Y Silva (Cuba) 4.7; 6 E Isinbaeva (Rus) 4.65; 7 J Ptacnikova (Cz Rep) 4.65; 8 N Kiriakopoulou (Gr) 4.65; 9 S Spiegelburg (Ger) 4.65; 10 K Gadschiew (Ger) 4.55; 10 M Pyrek (Pol) 4.55; 10 A Rogowska (Pol) 4.55. Heptathlon overall positions: 1 T Chernova (Russia) 6,880pts; 2 J Ennis (GB) 6,751; 3 J Oeser (Germany) 6,572; 15 L Hazel (GB) 6;149. 800m heat 2: 6 L Hazel (GB) 02:15.44. Heat 3: 2 J Ennis (GB) 02:07.8. Long jump group A: 2 J Ennis (GB) 6.51; 10 L Hazel (GB) 6.25. Javelin throw group B: 3 L Hazel (GB) 41.75; 7 J Ennis (GB) 39.95. Selected GB Heats: 1500m semi-final heat 2: 6 H England (GB) 04:08.31 q. 5,000m heat 1: 8 H Clitheroe (GB) 15:37.73 (q). 400m hurdles semi-final heat 1: 6 E Child (GB) 55.89. Heat 3: 3 P Shakes-Drayton (GB) 55.07. Triple jump qualification: Group B: 2 Y Aldama (GB) 14.35 (q).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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: Direct Mail Machine Operative

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an i...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Day In a Page

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US