SHEFFIELD’S Jessica Ennis-Hill was thrilled with her points total at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis as she returned to competitive heptathlon for the first time since winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics.
The 29-year-old finished fourth, but registered 6,520 points and will defend her title in Rio de Janeiro next year after amassing 320 more than the qualifying mark.
“If someone had said ‘65’ (6,500 points) I would have grabbed that with two hands. I’m really happy to score that, yeah I am made up,” she said. “I am really, really pleased.”
Ennis-Hill has taken time off following the birth of her first son and has also had to deal with an Achilles injury.
The Yorkshire athlete finished 11 points off third place thanks to an impressive victory in the final event, the 800m, where she finished in two minutes 9.21 seconds, albeit more than two seconds slower than her personal best at the distance.
“I didn’t quite know what would happen in the 800m, but as soon as I heard the gun and ran the first lap. I felt comfortable and tried to maintain the speed,” said Ennis-Hill, who accumulated 6,995 points when she won gold in London.
“I’ve still got that competitive edge and I have still got drive to compete even when I am not on to win or get a PB.”
Canada’s Commonwealth champion Brianne Theisen-Eaton – who just lost out to Ennis-Hill in the 800m – claimed overall victory with a national record 6,808 points, while Germany’s Carolin Schafer (6,547) was second and Nadine Broersen (6,531) of Holland was third.
Ennis-Hill was as far down as eighth after six events after a 6.16m long jump effort was followed up by a disappointing best of 42.60m in the javelin on day two.
This came after a mixed Saturday in Austria.
She finished fifth in the opening 100m hurdles in a time of 13.24 seconds – seven tenths of a second 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 23.86s in the 200m.
Her total in Austria was enough to secure a place at the World Championships in Beijing this August, but Ennis-Hill is unsure if she will compete.
“If I am a medal contender I will go and if I can get the work done,” she added.
“I don’t want to go to the world champs underprepared.
“Some of my events have been pretty poor and pretty standard, distances and jumps.
“It will be good to go away and get some proper training done where I feel there will be a lot more to come.”
British teenager Morgan Lake finished 23rd after she failed to finish the 800m, pulling out with around 200m to go.
The 18-year-old, who has A-Levels to complete on her return to Britain, registered 5,082 points.
City of Sheffield athlete James Gormley won his 1,500m race in the BMC graded Grand Prix meeting at Manchester on Saturday. The 17 year old clocked a personal best of 3:48.39, inside the qualifying standard for the World Youth Championships in July.
Harrogate under-17 George Mills also ran a personal best of 1:51.73 in the 800m.
Other notable personal bests included Sally Smith (Wakefield) in the 800m (2:05.83), Max Wharton (Halifax) in the 800m (1:50.15) and Michael Salter (Leeds City) in the 1,500m (3:45.16).
Leeds City international Racheal Bamford was narrowly beaten in the women’s 1,500m A race where she ran 4:14.22.