Sheffield's Jessica Ennis-Hill leaves a lasting legacy after retirement

Jess Ennis-Hill
Jess Ennis-Hill
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Jessica Ennis-Hill has left a remarkable heptathlon legacy for Great Britain after announcing her retirement from the sport at the age of 30.

Ennis-Hill's triumph at the London 2012 Olympics as well as her two world titles have already inspired new generations of domestic athletes to take up the discipline.

Jessica looks forward to a life after athletics

Jessica looks forward to a life after athletics

And two of those who have already experienced global success at junior levels were quickest to pay tribute to the Sheffield athlete's remarkable achievements.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson, widely tipped as the natural successor to Ennis-Hill, tweeted: "A sad day for athletics! A real inspiration to me and so many others. Well done on a incredible career @J_Ennis".

And Morgan Lake, who was crowned world junior champion in 2014, added: "Sad day for athletics/heptathlon but thank you for being such an inspiration, and congratulations for an amazing career."

Further tributes poured in from across the sporting world for Ennis-Hill, who admitted the decision to call time on her glittering heptathlon career was "one of the toughest decisions" she has had to make.

A poster girl for the London Games, Ennis-Hill powered to gold on what became known as Super Saturday, and later battled back from time out through injury and the birth of her first child to reach the top of the world once more.

The 30-year-old wrote on Instagram: "Amazing memories...from my first world title in Berlin 2009 to Rio 2016 I'm so fortunate to have had such an amazing career within the sport I love and this has been one of the toughest decisions I've had to make.

"But I know that retiring now is right. I've always said I want to leave my sport on a high and have no regrets and I can truly say that.

"I want to thank my family and incredible team who have spent so much of their time supporting me and enabling me to achieve my dreams. Also a huge thank you to all those people who have supported and followed my career over the years x."

Ennis-Hill fell narrowly short of defending her Olympic heptathlon title when she was forced to settle for the silver medal in Rio this summer.

And those closest to her believe she has reached the decision to walk away from the sport at the right time.

Toni Minichiello, who has coached Ennis-Hill throughout her career, said: "Many sports people hold on too long.

"Jess has managed to avoid walking out of the stadium after failing a qualifying round. She's walking out of the stadium by stepping off the podium. She's one of our sporting greats. It seems fitting this way.

"We've known for a long time this day was coming."