Ennis: I'm in great shape

Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis

First published in National Sport © by

Jessica Ennis has set her sights on sending out a warning to her Olympic rivals when she competes in her first heptathlon of the year this weekend.

The 26-year-old face of the Games will take on her main contenders for gold in London at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis. She has a point to prove after having to settle for silver behind Russia's Tatyana Chernova at last year's World Championships and also behind Nataliya Dobrynska of Ukraine at the World Indoor Championships in March.

But she will go into the event on the back of a hugely impressive victory over 100 metres hurdles at the Powerade Great CityGames in Manchester, and she said: "I need to run that [time] in a heptathlon, but it's been great to just have a race, get sharp and I can hopefully do something similar next weekend."

She beat Dawn Harper and Danielle Carruthers, the Olympic champion and world silver medallist respectively, on a specially-constructed Manchester city-centre track, some achievement even if her time of 12.75 seconds could not count as a personal best because a blunder by race officials meant only nine hurdles were set up rather than 10.

The hurdles is the first event in heptathlon competition, and Ennis' strongest of the seven, and she knows a good start will be crucial.

"I would love to run a time like that in the hurdles in Gotzis and just get some really solid performances in, just make sure everything is really consistent," she said.

Ennis was let down in Daegu last year by a poor javelin and indoors in Istanbul by her long jump, so she is determined for there to be no weak events in Gotzis.

"More than anything I just want really solid performances, not for one event to really let me down," she said. "When you do great performances you do take a lot of confidence from them so I would love to do that as well."

Two successive silver rather than gold medals have eased the pressure on Ennis ahead of the home Olympics - she is no longer the favourite it was assumed she would be this time last year - and she has faith in her preparation.

"My programme's all carefully worked out," Ennis, still the European champion, said. "I'm in great shape now ahead of Gotzis, but I also want to build on that and make sure I'm in great shape ahead of the Olympics as well. My programme is carefully thought out so I am in the place I need to be at those two times."

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