No hitches for Ennis as she puts Jones to flight

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The Independent Online

There have been more bruising head-to-heads at the Kelvin Hall. It was here in April 1979 that Jim Watt overcame a shuddering big hit from Alfredo Pitalua to put the Colombian on the canvas and ultimately claim the world lightweight boxing crown.

That took the Bridgeton boy 12 gruelling rounds. After all of the pre-race hype on Twitter, Jessica Ennis required less than eight seconds in the Aviva International Match yesterday to settle her showdown with the American holder of the world indoor title for the 60m hurdles. The world heptathlon champion repeated her stunning victory of 12 months ago against Lolo Jones, powering home in 7.97sec – 0.02sec shy of her British record.

For all of Jones' tweeted bravado about exacting revenge and about Ennis being "weighed down" by the "rock" of her engagement ring, the challenge of the 28-year-old Iowan not so much hit the canvas as the third hurdle. Even by that stage, Jones was struggling to keep in touch with the recently-betrothed British team captain and with Tifany Ofili, the fellow US native who has hitched herself to the land of her London-born mother with a view to becoming an adopted home hope for 2012.

Ofili, who hails from Ypsilanti, Michigan, won a World Junior Championship bronze medal for the US in 2006. Yesterday, representing the Commonwealth Select team, the 23-year-old finished runner-up to Ennis in 8.04sec. Jones was fourth in 8.27sec.

"No, the rock didn't weigh me down," a chuckling Ennis reflected. "I honestly didn't expect to win again here. I thought last year was quite fluky. It's nice that it's going so well."

Jones said she had "no excuses," though there were mitigating circumstances behind her below-par performance: a 30-hour trip from snowbound Louisiana to reach New York; a night sleeping on the terminal floor at JFK Airport; and a rude awakening when she got to Glasgow and finally to bed when the fire alarm went off at the meeting hotel on Friday afternoon. "I joked on Twitter that the Brits were playing a prank on the US team because we had just arrived and got to bed after a long trip," Jones said.

After an hour and a quarter's break, the Sheffield woman was in action in the long jump. Ennis, who turned 25 on Friday, put the icing on the cake with a last round effort of 6.38m, only 6cm down on her lifetime best indoors. That was good enough for third place behind Nadja Kather of Germany, who won the team competition, and Funmi Jimoh of the United States. Shara Proctor, the other new Great Britain recruit on show – like Ofili, competing for the Commonwealth Select – was unable to rise to the occasion. The former Anguillan finished fifth and last with 6.28m.

Ennis was one of only four British winners. Mark Lewis-Francis surged to victory in the 60m, clocking 6.66sec and Jenny Meadows was a class apart in the 800m, winning in 2min 01.17sec. The most eye-catching performance came from Helen Clitheroe in the 3,000m, the 37-year-old Preston Harrier blasting clear from the gun and winning by a whopping 16 seconds.

It was a measure of Clitheroe's run that her time, 8min 52.31sec, happened to floor the stadium record held since 1989 by Liz McColgan – one of the all-time great battlers in Scottish sport.