Jessica Ennis-Hill's Achilles leaves doubts over Götzis meeting

The heptathlete is still to recapture her best form

Matt Majendie
Sunday 17 May 2015 19:28
Jessica Ennis-Hill
Jessica Ennis-Hill

Jessica Ennis-Hill will decide on Monday whether to compete in the multi-event Hypo-Meeting in Götzis, Austria, later this month as she continues to struggle to recapture her best form.

The Olympic heptathlon champion continued her return to competition at the Loughborough International Athletics event yesterday in both the long jump and the javelin.

But the 29-year-old, returning after nearly two years out of competition for the birth of her son Reggie, was some way off her best, managing a long jump effort of 6.16 metres for third place and a throw of 43.88m in the javelin, which was only good enough for sixth. Her personal bests are 6.51m and 48.33 respectively.

She admitted the Achilles issues that have plagued her return in training this week had been “a little bit up and down through the week” in the wake of competing over the 100m hurdles the previous weekend in Manchester.

“I’ve had to manage it and get treatment,” she said. “I’ve just not been able to get the full amount of training I wanted to do but just coming here and doing two events is a really good sign.”

The lure of Götzis, which takes place from 30 to 31 May, is that she can use the event in order to qualify automatically for next year’s Olympics with a tally of 6,200 points. With a personal best of 6,955 set as she won gold at London 2012, such a target is ordinarily eminently achievable for Ennis-Hill.

But she has to weigh up with her coach, Toni Minichiello, whether she is in the shape to achieve that goal and similarly whether she risks her ambitions both for Rio and also the World Championships in Beijing in August by worsening her Achilles problem.

“It’s a hard one because my aim is to get the qualifying standard for the Olympics this year and get that under my belt,” she said, “then I can start moving forwards.

“If I can go out there and do that then great, that’s what I’m aiming to do. But I don’t want to go there and have to pull out. So we just need to sit down and have a chat once we’ve seen how I come out of today.

“It’s hard to say, I’ll speak to Toni and we’ll make a decision. But the aim for the year is to qualify so, if I’m ready, I’ll do that. If I’m not going to get the qualifying mark then there’s no way I’ll do it.”

The annual Hypo-Meeting is seen as the de facto world championship for the world’s leading multi-eventers, and had sparked British interest with the first potential head to head between Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who has become the leading heptathlete globally in her fellow Briton’s absence.

But Johnson-Thompson last week withdrew from the competition after failing to get herself in sufficiently good shape because of a knee injury sustained in the spring while Ennis-Hill’s involvement also hangs in the balance.

Johnson-Thompson has opted against taking the risk with the worlds her No 1 focus in 2015.

As for her own involvement in Beijing, Ennis-Hill said: “It’s definitely on the agenda. I’m not ruling it out but I’m just seeing how the next few weeks go.”

How her body fares will play a key role in deciding her plans for the rest of the year. She added: “The hardest thing has been the injuries. I absolutely hate my Achilles.

“I always knew it would be hard coming back after having Reggie but the hardest thing has been the injuries and wanting to do the training but being held back.

“It’s been both Achilles which is frustrating. It’s something that can be managed – it’s not a disastrous injury.”

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