Return to Austria provides mixed emotions for Ennis

The prospect of Jessica Ennis smashing Denise Lewis's UK heptathlon record is a distinct possibility now that the world champion is fully fit.

But whether it will occur when she makes an emotional return to the Hypomeeting in Gotzis today is questionable, given her own plans for the summer and the forecast of unhelpful Austrian weather.

Ennis was only 100 points short of the record of 6,831 points set by Lewis almost a decade ago when she won the world title in Berlin last August.

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However, the 24-year-old will have to cope with the mental scars from her previous appearance in Gotzis, when she suffered a career-threatening foot injury which ruled her out of the Beijing Olympics.

"I have different memories about Gotzis," admits Ennis, who withdrew after the first day's action for what she thought were precautionary reasons after feeling a problem in the high jump. "On one hand this place reminds me of the injury.

"After the first day I didn't think how serious the injury would turn out to be.

"It was a painful memory because I felt in great shape before the injury. It took time to return to my best form.

"On the other hand I remember the enjoyable atmosphere of Gotzis.

"Last year I did not want to come back in Gotzis. Instead I decided to return to my old routine and compete in my favourite meeting in Desenzano.

"But this year I wanted to return to Gotzis to compete against the best specialists in the world."

Her own self-belief and that of inspirational coach Toni Minichiello saw her defy specialists' advice and rebuild her career, although it meant changing her long jump routine and now taking off on the "wrong foot."

Ennis quickly overcame the change in technique and now boasts a very reasonable personal best of 6.44 metres, a crucial distance which helped her win the world indoor pentathlon title earlier this year.

Ennis has set her own targets for her opening heptathlon of the year and although Kelly Sotherton is tipping her to break Lewis's record this weekend, that does not appear to be a factor in her planning.

Instead, Ennis sees it as her first, and most likely only, preparation before bidding to add the European Championships gold medal to her collection of honours in Barcelona at the end of July.

"Everything is focused on Barcelona, the ultimate goal for the season," Ennis said. "I want to focus on doing well in each single event and performing close to my PBs in each single event.

"I don't think too much about the British record set by Denise Lewis. The 7,000 points barrier is not far away but it's all about putting all single components together."