Athletics: Ennis on track for Beijing but fears threat of the Swedes
Sunday 27 January 2008
When Jessica Ennis settled into her starting blocks for the opening track event in the Norwich Union International Match here in Glasgow yesterday she had one eye on the finish line and the other on Beijing seven months down the road.
The sight of a rival in the yellow vest of Sweden pulling clear to victory is likely to be a familiar one when the young woman from Sheffield gets to the China's capital to contest the Olympic heptathlon.
It was Susanna Kallur, the reigning European high hurdles champion indoors and out, who left the Great Britain medal hope chasing a personal target in the 60m hurdles. Carolina Kluft was a notable absentee from the Swedish team, although the queen of the multi-events world seems certain to be alongside Ennis in Beijing for a possible final fling as a heptathlete.
In the United States for the Boston Indoor Games this weekend, Kluft continued to equivocate about her Olympic plans – not ruling out the suggestion she mooted on Swedish television before Christmas that she might skip the defence of her heptathlon crown in Beijing and pour her efforts into the long jump. "I don't have the motivation to compete in the heptathlon like before," she said.
Still, the fact that Kluft has the motivation to contest the pentathlon at the World Indoor Championships in March is a strong indication that she will be going for heptathlon gold in Beijing. Certainly, the Swedish contingent in Glasgow fully expect her to do so – and so does Ennis.
"I don't want to get it into my head that she might not do the heptathlon," the 21-year-old Briton said, after a highly encouraging afternoon's work – equalling her indoor personal best (8.18sec) for fifth place behind Kallur in the 60m hurdles and then setting a hat-trick of indoor lifetime bests (6.28m, 6.30m and 6.33m) for second place in the long jump.
A graduate in psychology from the University of Sheffield, Ennis has a wise head on her young shoulders. The chances are that she will be battling for silver or bronze in Beijing, as she was in Osaka last August. She missed out a medal there by a tantalising 37 points – finishing fourth behind Kluft, Lyudmila Blonska of Ukraine, and her Great Britain team-mate Kelly Sotherton – but her form yesterday bodes well for her prospects in Beijing.
Her long jumping was particularly impressive. Starting the competition with an indoor best of 6.21, she came on in leaps and bounds, improving by 12cm and finishing within 4cm of one of the world's best – Germany's Bianca Kappler, who finished fifth in the long jump in Osaka.
The next step for Ennis on the road to Beijing will be the Norwich Union World Trials and UK Championships on home soil in Sheffield in two weeks' time.
Any chance of Dwain Chambers taking the same step ended a fortnight ago when UK Athletics revealed that the reinstated doping offender was not on their drug testing list. For good measure, Niels de Vos, the chief executive of the domestic governing body, reiterated yesterday that the former British and European 100m record holder would not be eligible to compete in Sheffield.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...