Jessica Ennis-Hill ready to hurdle into the unknown

Gold medallist’s return to scene of her greatest triumph is hampered by nagging Achilles injury

When asked to describe the stand-out moment of last summer, for Jessica Ennis-Hill it was not so much the gold medal being placed around her neck or the national anthem blaring out inside the Olympic Stadium.

Rather it was those first nervous steps as she entered the venue for day one of the heptathlon, what she called “a moment that will stick with me for ever”.

The steps she takes into the stadium today, a year on, will be infinitely more tentative, knowing that the Achilles injury that has curtailed her ambitions this year could flare up and end her season before it has begun.

Ennis-Hill had her first competition of note on Tuesday, competing in the javelin and long jump at a meeting in Loughborough, and she came through relatively unscathed though did admit to feeling pain. The double challenge of the hurdles and the long jump, however, will be the acid test as to whether she can make it to the World Champ- ionships, let alone be competitive.

The injury has meant that she is far from race sharp. Prior to two hurdling sessions last week, she had not trained over the hurdles for the previous six weeks. Her running ambitions were seriously hampered, the focus instead on weights and cycling.

This is her running debut for 2013, just three weeks before the start of the World Championships, meaning she is unsure how she will fare at the major championships this year.

“I think it’s going to be a good test, to do the hurdles and then go to the long jump,” she said. “That’s trying to simulate what I’m going to do in Moscow; to see how it holds up. Tuesday was the first test and coming out from that I had a good response and it didn’t react too badly. This is the next big test.”

The pain in her Achilles is not about to go any time soon. Instead, she will just have to limit it with painkillers and heavy strapping. Where once, if fit, she would have been a red-hot favourite in Moscow, now she is still uncertain whether she will even make the start line there. Asked if she could win the Worlds, she hardly fired a confident note in response: “I definitely feel in a better position than I was last week and the week before.”

To some degree, her hurdling into the unknown means she cannot wholly enjoy her return to the scene of her greatest triumph, mainly because of the nagging thoughts in the back of her mind about an injury that refuses to go away.  She concluded: “The last time I hurdled was in the Olympic Stadium. I could not have been more ready last year and I think I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum this year. I’m just going to go out there and give it my all and see what happens.”

While Ennis is hobbling, the other star British attraction, Mo Farah, has a noticeable spring in his step. In his last race, he broke Steve Cram’s 28-year-old British record for the 1500m, and the hope is he could break Dave Moorcroft’s 3000m mark set in 1982 this afternoon. On his chances of doing so, Farah said simply: “I’m just going to leave you guys guessing.”

The year has not been without its problems, though: he admitted he has not seen his twin girls, Aisha and Amani, since racing in the United States at the start of June. Added to that sacrifice is the pressure of being at the top of the pile in long-distance running. “The hardest thing is being at the top because everybody wants to knock you down,” he confessed. “Sometimes you’ve got to motivate yourself and think about your decision  – that’s what really drives us.”

Whatever the result in London today, Farah’s message, however, echoes that of his fellow London gold medallist, Ennis-Hill. “Moscow’s the most important thing for me, that’s what I’m getting ready for,” he said.

Weekend schedule: The highlights

Saturday

2pm Men’s long jump (featuring Chris Tomlinson)

2.11pm Women’s 100m hurdles (featuring Jessica Ennis-Hill)

3.05pm Men’s 400m hurdles

3.27pm Women’s 200m final

3.50pm Women’s long jump  (featuring Ennis-Hill)

3.55pm Women’s 400m (with Christine Ohuruogu)

4.07pm Men’s 110m hurdles final

4.20pm Women’s 100m final

4.32pm Men’s 3,000m (Mo Farah)

4.50pm Men’s 4 x 100m relay (Usain Bolt) TV 1.30-5.15pm, BBC1

Tomorrow

3.16pm Women’s T33/34 100m (Hannah Cockcroft)

4.01pm Women’s T37 100m (Bethany Woodward)

4.23pm Men’s T42 200m (Richard Whitehead)

5.01pm Men’s T43/44 100m (Jonnie Peacock)

5.14pm Men’s T54 mile (David Weir)

TV 3-5.30pm, Channel 4

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
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: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable