Video: Sheffield gives Jess Ennis its biggest send-off

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OLYMPIC gold medal hope Jessica Ennis signed autographs and posed for photographs with fans in her home city of Sheffield today and told them: “I hope I can do you proud.”

Ennis was joined for a send-off event in the city centre by dozens of athletes who hope to be heading for the Olympics or Paralympics.

Great Britain athlete Jessica Ennis meets fans during a civic send-off event in Sheffield city centre

Great Britain athlete Jessica Ennis meets fans during a civic send-off event in Sheffield city centre

All were either from the city or trained in the city.

The champion heptathlete took to the stage with the other athletes in the city’s Peace Gardens.

She told the crowd: “I’m excited. I just can’t believe how quick it’s come round.

“To be here in Sheffield with some amazing athletes from the city, it’s great.”

Ennis said: “Training’s going good. I’m feeling in good shape. I’m positive. I’m happy with the position I’m in right now and looking forward to the Games beginning.”

Asked home much the support of Sheffield meant to her, she said: “It makes a huge difference. I’m always having people coming up to me and wishing me luck so it’s a great opportunity to be stood here today just to thank everyone for their support and I hope I can do you proud.”

She told the crowd: “I hope you enjoy the Olympics. We’re all going to do our best and see what we can bring back to the city.”

Ennis then delighted the hundreds of people watching by signing autographs at the front of the barriers.

The crowds wished her luck for the heptathlon competition, which is at the beginning of August.

One little boy, Will Tillyer, three, got the athlete to sign his shirt.

His grandmother, Elaine Parsonage, from Sheffield, said: “He loves Jess. He loves the Olympics. He’s just a bit stunned by it all.”