Multi-skilled Ennis must raise bar again to land on podium

Heptathlon glory will put Briton in seventh heaven

For Jessica Ennis, there is no looking back – in anger or frustration – as she prepares to make her return to the heptathlon by the shores of Lake Garda next weekend. There has been much for the multi-talented Sheffield woman to endure since she last completed a seven-event competition. In May last year, her hopes of challenging for an Olympic medal came to premature grief when she withdrew midway through the annual Hypo heptathlon at Gotzis in Austria suffering from what proved to be a stress fracture of the right ankle. Then came the lifetime ban given to Lyudmila Blonska when the Ukrainian tested positive for methyltestosterone at the Beijing Games, after finishing runner-up to her compatriot Nataliya Dobrynska.

For Ennis, the Blonska ban rubbed salt into the lingering wound of having missed a World Championship medal by the tantalising margin of 41 points in Osaka in 2007, when she placed fourth behind Sweden's Carolina Kluft, Blonska and her British team-mate Kelly Sotherton. Given that Blonska was returning from an earlier drugs ban on that occasion, Ennis must surely feel she has a moral claim on a global medal.

"Well, it is disappointing as to how it all unfolded," she reflected, picking her words with diplomatic care. "And yeah, if you look back, I could have won a bronze medal, which is a shame. But it's happened now and I don't think there's any point in dwelling on it and getting upset about missing out on a medal. Thankfully, now she's out of the sport for good."

And, happily, Ennis is back. Next Saturday and Sunday she will be in Desenzano del Garda in northern Italy, getting back into the swing of things as a competitive heptathlete in the annual Multistars event there. Beyond that, her sights are on the World Championships in Berlin in August, where she will have the chance to win a global medal by her own efforts. The Italian event will be her first heptathlon attempt since her abortive appearance in Gotzis 12 months ago. The last heptathlon she completed was the World Championship competition in Osaka in August 2007.

"Yeah, it's such a long time since I competed properly in a heptathlon," Ennis said. "It's going to be really weird. I feel nervous, very nervous, but also excited. I'm looking forward to competing again but I'm just a little bit anxious and wary as to how it will evolve. But it should be good, I think. I competed in a few low-key individual events in the indoor season and I've done one or two outdoors in the last few weeks, just to test my run-ups and stuff. I think it's been going well, so I'm looking forward to next weekend. I haven't seen the entry list yet. I'll have a look next week and see who'll be there. But it's mainly about making sure everything's right for me, making sure I'm ready to go in there and compete well.

"I want to wait and see how it goes next week before deciding whether or not to do another heptathlon before Berlin. I want to see what kind of score I get and how the seven events go, and see what I need to work on, what I need to go back and revisit.

"I might do another heptathlon before Berlin, but if I can get the qualifying score in Desenzano [6,100 points] I may just carry on preparing in individual events before the World Championships. That would be an ideal situation."

Ennis has been to Desenzano before. In 2007, she equalled the British high jump record, 1.95m, en route to breaking Denise Lewis's British under-23 heptathlon record with a winning score of 6,388 points. She improved her personal best to 6,469 points in Osaka later that summer but the 23-year-old psychology graduate knows she will need to raise the bar again if she is to challenge for a place on the podium in Berlin.

Even with the untouchable Kluft now out of the heptathlon equation, the three-time world champion having moved on to the "fresh challenge" of the long jump, it took 6,619 points to win an Olympic medal in Beijing – or 6,591 following the retrospective disqualification of Blonska.

"The event has moved on since Osaka," Ennis acknowledged. "People have left the heptathlon and others have come through. Also, I think you'll have up-and-coming youngsters emerging who might pull out some big scores as well, so it's a bit of an unpredictable event at the moment. It's always good competition in the heptathlon anyway. And, points-wise, it has moved on since the last time I competed properly.

"That was in 2007. Now I think I need to be in 6,600-points shape to contend for medals. And that's where I hope to be." In Berlin in August, if not in Desenzano next weekend.

Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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 Call Handler

£14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a Sales Ca...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique pers...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor