Best of Jessica Ennis

Ennis opened the 2012 season at the Northern Athletics Senior Indoor Championships at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield in mid-January. She won the shot put with a distance of 13.95 metres. Three weeks later, at the same venue, Ennis was a member of the ‘Sheffield Flames’ team that won the McCain Indoor City Challenge. She won the 60 metres hurdles in 8.05 seconds and was second in the long jump with 6.19 metres. At the Aviva UK Trials and Championships at the English Institute of Sport in early February, Ennis won the high jump, clearing 1.91 metres, and finished sixth in the shot put, with a best throw of 14.09 metres. The following day Ennis won the 60 metres hurdles in an equal personal best time of 7.95 seconds.[65]

Ennis recorded two indoor personal bests at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham on 18 February; 7.87 seconds in the 60 metres hurdles and 6.47 metres in the long jump.[66]

Ennis finished second at the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships in Istanbul, Turkey in March 2012, behind Nataliya Dobrynska, who set a new world record of 5,013 points. In finishing second Ennis recorded a personal best and national record of 4,965 points, also recording indoor personal bests in the shot put (14.79 metres) and 800 metres (2:08.09).

Ennis’ first outdoor appearance of the season came at RAF Cosford in late April, where she threw the javelin 45.66 metres. In mid May Ennis won the senior titles in the shot put and the javelin at the Yorkshire Athletics Championships at Cudworth, near Barnsley. In the shot put Ennis competed against 69-year-old Sheila Bolland of Spenborough and District Athletics Club.

In May Ennis ran 12.75 seconds in the 100 metres hurdles at the Powerade Great City Games in Manchester, beating 2008 Olympic gold medallist Dawn Harper and 2011 World Championship siver medallist Danielle Carruthers. The event was notable for there being only nine hurdles instead of the regulation ten due to an administrative error, resulting in what would have been Ennis’s personal best time for the event being invalidated.[67]

In May Ennis broke Denise Lewis’s British heptathlon record at the Hypo-Meeting in Götzis, Austria, recording a total of 6,906 points, thus becoming the eighth woman to score over 6,900 points. Ennis’s performance included personal bests in the 200 metres (22.88 seconds) and javelin (47.11 metres), whilst she equalled her personal best in the long jump (6.51 metres). Ennis beat Tatyana Chernova by 132 points.[68]

Ennis next competed in the 100 metres hurdles at the Diamond League meeting in Oslo in early June, but was disqualified from the final for a false start, having earlier run 12.83 seconds in the heats.[69] The following weekend Ennis won the long jump with 6.40 metres and finished eighth in the javelin with 46.34 metres at the Bedford International Games.[70]

Ennis participated in two events on the second day of the Aviva UK Trials at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, winning the high jump with a season’s best of 1.89 metres. She followed up by taking the 100 metres hurdles title in 12.92 seconds, beating Tiffany Porter into second place. On the third day she finished sixth in the long jump with a best of 6.27 metres. The competition was won by Shara Proctor in a new British record of 6.95 metres.[71]

Ennis decided not to defend her European heptathlon title at the 2012 championships in Helsinki because of the proximity of the competition to the Olympic Games. Previously held every four years, this was the first time the European Athletics Championships had been arranged on a two-year cycle, resulting in all the major competitors for the Olympic title declining to enter. The event was won by Antoinette Nana Djimou Ida of France, with a total of 6,544 points, 362 points below Ennis’s best score.

Ennis’ last competition before the Olympic Games was a meeting at Loughborough in early July. She won the long jump with 6.21 metres and finished fourth in the javelin with 44.73 metres.

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