Ennis-Hill dives headlong into heptathlon in Rio quest

Jessica Ennis
Jessica Ennis
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Jessica Ennis-Hill has set her sights on qualifying for next year’s Olympics when she takes part in her first heptathlon since winning London 2012 gold at the end of the month.

Ennis-Hill yesterday announced her intention to feature in the Gotzis Hypo-Meeting on May 30 and 31 after showing no ill-effects from competing in Loughborough at the weekend.

The 29-year-old from Sheffield, who has been struggling with an Achilles injury, has only recently returned to athletics after a near two-year absence.

But she has rejected thoughts of merely testing the waters at the Austria meeting and is optimistic she can reach the 6,200-point mark needed to be eligible to represent Team GB at Rio 2016 and defend her title.

“After competing in Loughborough at the weekend I felt pretty good the next day and my Achilles felt fine which is brilliant,” she said.

“The results I have had at the competitions over the past few weeks are promising and we believe it is feasible for me to do a full heptathlon and achieve the level of points I need to qualify for Rio. If I can achieve this early in the season it removes a real pressure, and all the indicators are looking positive, so I plan to go to Gotzis and give it my best shot.”

It is a lofty aim for Ennis-Hill, who has made just two competitive appearances since making her comeback this month.

Her lengthy absence from athletics was due to injury and the birth of her first child last year, but she marked her return by finishing third in the 100m hurdles at the Great CityGames in Manchester on May 9.

She followed that up with third- and sixth-placed finishes in the long jump and javelin respectively at the Loughborough International Athletics meeting on Sunday, enough to convince her to make a competitive return to the heptathlon.

Ennis-Hill’s coach Toni Minichiello has seen enough in the last couple of weeks to convince him his charge is ready to take on the challenge of competing in seven events over a short space of time.

“Having come through the weekend’s competition without any issues from a physical point of view, and for Jess to actually feel good, I am feeling positive about her being in a position to achieve the qualification for the Olympics in Gotzis,” he said.

While some of the best heptathletes will be on show at the Hypo-Meeting in Austria, Ennis-Hill’s British rival Katarina Johnson-Thompson has already pulled out. The 22-year-old Liverpudlian is not ready to compete over seven events.