Jessica Ennis-Hill remains confident of winning her race to be fit for the World Championships in Moscow, despite pulling out of a third straight competition because of an ankle injury.
The Olympic champion from Sheffield has been forced to delay her start to the season yet again after withdrawing from her first scheduled heptathlon since London 2012 in Tallinn this weekend.
UK Athletics said the 27-year-old would instead continue to train and receive treatment rather than put her ankle through the unnecessarily high levels of impact a multi-event competition would inevitably bring.
Ennis-Hill said: “I have been running and putting some force through the ankle, but (coach) Toni (Minichiello) and I feel that doing a heptathlon is not the best option to achieving a full recovery, and day by day it is feeling much more free and comfortable.
“This season’s focus has to still be the heptathlon in Moscow and there are many other options to compete before then.”
Her withdrawal from the European Cup Combined Events Super League meeting in Estonia comes after she pulled out of what was due to be her season opener in Edinburgh on June 8 and the Diamond League meeting in Oslo on June 13. On those occasions she cited a stiff Achilles.
And it will increase doubts over whether the golden girl of British athletics will be 100 per cent for the World Championships, which get under way on August 10.
Ennis-Hill is looking to regain her world title after having to settle for silver, behind Russia’s Tatyana Chernova, in Daegu in 2011.
Following her Olympic exploits, Ennis-Hill opted to miss the indoor season and intended to start the outdoor campaign later than usual following her wedding.
She is now set to head to the Russian capital without having competed in a seven-event competition since her gold medal-winning showing at London 2012. Indeed, she has not taken to the track since that memorable night at the Olympic Stadium.
Minichiello said: “Jessica does not need to do a heptathlon before Moscow - but it would have been useful.
“However, given her ankle is making slow but steady progress and things are looking much better we don’t feel it is worth rushing it to compete this weekend in all seven disciplines.
“My job is to get her to Moscow in one piece, and in good shape, and that is my priority.”
A possible next option for Ennis-Hill is to compete at the World Championship trials in Birmingham from July 12-14.