JESSICA ENNIS-HILL insists she is still not certain to go to the World Championships in Beijing next month, despite producing her three best performances since London 2012 on her return to the Olympic Stadium.
The 29-year-old from Sheffield produced a 6.37m long jump and a 23.49 seconds 200m at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games on Saturday, to go with the 12.79secs she ran over the 100m hurdles the day before.
The Olympic heptathlon champion said her performances had made her “a lot more positive” about her prospects for Beijing, having only returned to competition in May following the birth of her son Reggie.
But the Sheffield athlete maintained she would only travel to China if she felt she could challenge for a medal, with defending her Olympic title in Rio next summer the key target.
Her fellow multi-eventer Katarina Johnson-Thompson is also aiming for a medal of any colour, having been forced to adjust her goal from gold or nothing, after revealing her preparation has been hampered by a quad problem for the past three weeks.
Johnson-Thompson finished fourth in the long jump with 6.50m, with Ennis-Hill seventh, as Anguilla-born Shara Proctor took victory in a new British record 6.98m.
Ennis-Hill, who was eighth in the 200m, and coach Toni Minichiello are set to make a decision over her participation in Beijing by Monday, with the Great Britain team announced the following day.
“I am making progress and my times are coming down. I’m really happy with this weekend,” said Ennis-Hill.
“I definitely feel a lot more positive. I feel the training I’ve done over the past few weeks has made a big difference.
“It’s an amazing atmosphere here, the track’s amazing, but that’s going to be the case in Beijing as well so I feel happy I’ve been able to raise my standards in this environment.
“I need to sit down with Toni. He’ll probably go, ‘No, no’, or ‘Yes, yes’. He’s kind of been up and down, it’s going to be an interesting conversation.
“I’ve done three events this weekend. It’s given me a good indication of where my speed is, but I’ve got to make sure that my other events are going well.
“I’m towards the end of my career. I’ve had an amazing career already and achieved so much. So Rio is the main thing for me and I want that to go the right way.
“The World Championships this year was always going to be a massive bonus. I know things can go wrong in the heptathlon, but if I feel I can contend for a silver medal and things go wrong and I come away with a bronze medal I’d be absolutely ecstatic with that performance. I want to win a medal.”
If this weekend was the acid test of her fitness for Beijing, though, Ennis-Hill passed with flying colours.
She added more than 20 centimetres to her season’s best in the long jump and backed her 6.37m effort up with another of 6.28m.
Her 100m hurdles run on Friday night was emphatic proof her speed has returned and her 200m, in a world-class field, also offered encouragement.
Johnson-Thompson, Ennis-Hill’s heir apparent in the heptathlon, was down on her best in the long jump, but she declared herself “completely happy” given her injury-troubled build-up.
The Liverpool athlete, who also battled a knee problem after winning European pentathlon gold in March, said: “Considering the preparation I’ve had for it I’m over the moon, and the fact I’ve come out of it not injured, healthy and happy.
“I need to concentrate on Beijing, which I’ve got four weeks for to do a proper build-up to a competition for once.”
Asked if she had been worried about missing the World Championships, she said: “I was worried about it before this competition but now I’m completely fine.”
This was the first time Ennis-Hill and Johnson-Thompson had gone head to head since the former’s return to the sport and her younger rival urged her to go to Beijing.
“I said to her she has to do it now considering what she did yesterday and today in the long jump, so I’m sure she’ll be there,” said Johnson-Thompson.
Elsewhere, Ennis-Hill’s fellow Super Saturday gold medallist Greg Rutherford had to settle for third in the long jump with 8.18m.
Great Britain’s 4x100m relay team of Richard Kilty, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, James Ellington and Chijindu Ujah held off the French quartet by 0.02 to take victory in 38.32.
Kenya’s David Rudisha, back at the stadium where he won Olympic gold and broke the 800m world record, had to settle for second behind Botswana’s Nijel Amos.