Jessica Ennis-Hill made an impressive return to heptathlon action to lie third overall after four events at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis, Austria.
She has not competed in the seven-discipline event since winning gold at the 2012 Olympics in London because of injury and motherhood, but a couple of solid performances in the morning set the tone for a successful day.
The 29-year-old Sheffield athlete finished fifth in the opening 100 metres hurdles in a time of 13.24 seconds – seven tenths slower than her personal best – but produced a better-than-expected 1.86m effort in the high jump to lie second overall after two events.
Ennis-Hill dropped a place after recording a throw of 13.37m in the shot put – considered to be one of her weaker events – and clocking 23.86sec in the 200m.
The Olympic champion’s points haul of 3,928 means she is 103 behind the leader Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada with three rounds to go, but she remains on course for the 6,200 total needed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Ennis-Hill, who will contest the long jump, javelin and 800m on Sunday, admitted that her performances in the hurdles and high jump came as something of a surprise.
“I think it’s ironic because I felt like my hurdles would improve a bit and I felt more confident about that and was really worried about the high jump because I have just not high-jumped,” she said.
“I was disappointed with my hurdles – [I’m] just lacking speed because I haven’t done the work.But I was really, really pleased with the high jump because I’ve probably done just four high jump sessions but I felt like I had that ping again and it felt really nice.”
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