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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum