Jessica Ennis makes incredible start in heptathlon as action begins in Olympic Stadium

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

Britain's Jessica Ennis claimed a 184-point lead in the heptathlon thanks to a sensational performance in front of a massive crowd in the Olympic Stadium.

Ennis finishes the day at the top of the heptathlon table with 4158 points. And fellow Brit, Katarina Johnson Thompson is in 14th place with 3769 points. Second to Ennis is Lithuania's Austra Skujyte with 3974 points.

Only a handful of seats in the 80,000-capacity stadium were empty when Ennis broke the British record and smashed her personal best with an exhilarating run of 12.54 seconds in the 100m hurdles. It was a time which gave American Dawn Harper Olympic gold in the individual event in Beijing.

The 26-year-old took 0.25secs off her PB and 0.02s off the previous national record set by hurdles specialist Tiffany Porter, while it was also the fastest ever hurdles time recorded in a heptathlon.

"I kind of felt strangely calm beforehand," Ennis said. "I'm normally quite nervous before the hurdles but I was quite calm and then coming out in the stadium and seeing everyone and the crowd, it's just such an amazing feeling. It gives you goosebumps.

"I am still so shocked at the hurdles time. I can't believe it to be honest, I really can't. I knew I was in good shape, hurdles have been going well and if I had run 12.80 or 12.70-something I would have been over the moon, but 12.54, I literally can't believe it. It's so crazy."

Ennis set another personal best of 22.83secs in the 200m this evening for a total of 4,158 points, her best ever first-day score and enough for a lead of 184 points over Skujyte.

Ennis was actually entered into the individual event - which starts on Monday morning - as a back-up if anything went wrong in the heptathlon, but remained uncertain as to whether she would double up.

"I had done all the hard work and training and it has been going well, but I think when you're in this environment with the crowd and the nervous energy, it just all comes into one, helps you perform and just pushes you on," she said.

"I'm a little disappointed with the high jump, I would have loved to get 1.89m, but it was roughly what I jumped in Gotzis where I set my personal best so I am kind of round about the same mark."

Johnson-Thompson admitted a faulty start in her hurdles heat had done her a favour after being taken aback by the rapturous reception from the crowd.

"It was surreal. I was told I said the word 'Wow', but I didn't realise I had done it," she said. "I am really happy we had a little faulty start as it took me time to just reassess myself and focus on the race instead of being overwhelmed by the crowd.

"I am glad I've got seven events because I think I will settle into it. I think I've settled into it already. The support is incredible. I am just so happy to be here. It's a dream come true really."

Told she was in bronze medal position, she joked: "That will soon change after the shot, don't worry!"

The long jump, javelin and 800m take place tomorrow.

There was more good news for Britain in the women's triple jump, with 39-year-old Yamile Aldama reaching the final with her first jump in qualifying of 14.45m.

Aldama, who turns 40 on August 14, previously competed for her native Cuba and Sudan and revealed that her 71-year-old mother Modesta has left Cuba for the first time in her life to come and watch the Olympic final.

Aldama, who had heavy strapping on the right shoulder she injured in Rome on May 31, said: "I have no words to describe the crowd. I've been to five Olympic Games and the qualifying is never like this."

Defending Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu, Shana Cox and Lee McConnell all advanced to the semi-finals of the 400m, while world champion Dai Greene, training partner Jack Green and European champion Rhys Williams eased into the next round of the 400m hurdles.

Greene qualified fourth fastest overall, with world number one Javier Culson of Puerto Rico quickest in 48.33, and said: "It was relatively easy. I struggle to get up for the heats usually so I just had to make sure I qualified as winner of my heat."

Britain's Alex Smith also made the final of the hammer, but thought he was destined to miss out after finishing only 10th in the first qualifying pool.

"It was just such a brilliant experience being out there, though I could have done better," Smith said. "But it was my first major championships and I am proud of what I've done. I went over to speak to my coach and I couldn't hear what he was saying because everyone was cheering me."

Only one man threw further than Smith in the second pool, meaning his best throw of 74.71m took him into the final as the 11th of 12 qualifiers.

There was disappointment for Carl Myerscough and Stuart Stokes in the shot and 3,000m steeplechase as they bowed out of their respective competitions.

Myerscough, cleared to compete in London when the British Olympic Association's lifetime ban on drugs cheats was overturned, was 29th in qualifying with a best of 18.95m.

He said: "I felt wonderful out there, then each throw just something slightly went wrong each time. I just didn't get one together, it's very frustrating. I am massively disappointed because I was in great shape. It's just a huge disappointment right now."

Stokes was 12th in his heat of the steeplechase in 8:43.04, and said: "It was tough going, but the crowd was absolutely superb. I was on for a PB with five laps to go and the guys were just running away from me.

"But I've got no complaints, no regrets. I am going to walk off with my head held high. It's a great climax to a lot of hard work, it's probably going to be the last time I put on my spikes. I am 35, have a wife, two kids and am a full-time teacher."

Related article...

Jessica Ennis: Aiming for seven heaven

Jessica's route to glory...

 

Tomorrow

Long jump: 10.05am

Ennis equalled her personal best in Götzis, with a 6.51m effort, but she has struggled to hit the board this summer and will have only three attempts to get it right tomorrow. The most important muscle here is the calf in the take-off leg. 6

Javelin: 11.40am

Having messed up in the javelin at the World Championships in Daegu last year, Ennis has worked long and hard on her technique this winter. She has found a consistent groove, throwing a lifetime best of 47.11m in Götzis. The shoulder and the triceps muscle are crucial to delivery. 6

800m: 8.35pm

Ennis has a best of 2min 07.81sec but is capable of going faster if need be – which she might have to if she is to beat Tatyana Chernova and Nataliya Dobrynska. The leg muscles are the most important – quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. 7

... and her rivals

Tatyana Chernova

The 24-year-old Russian is reigning world champion and has steadily improved since winning Olympic bronze in 2008. Chernova edges Ennis in the 800m – the definitive final event – and is significantly stronger in the javelin and long jump, where she will outclass most of the field.

Nataliya Dobrynska

The powerful Ukrainian, 30, won Olympic gold in Beijing and has enjoyed something of a resurgence this year after a disappointing 2011. She traditionally excels in the throwing events but is behind Ennis and Chernova in the track and field categories.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little