Yet again Jessica Ennis was the star of the show at the Aviva UK Indoor Championships at the EIS over the weekend. On the second day of the meeting she not only won the 60 metres hurdles but equalled her personal best time of 7.95 in both heat and final.
She gave near flawless performances, good start and smooth hurdling, to outclass the opposition. The trackside clock stopped at 7.94 on both occasions only to be rounded up. It was the first time she had won this title, unlike the high jump which she won on the first day.
It was her fourth win in this event and her winning height of 1.91 metres was her best ever season’s opener. She cleared every height first time up to 1.82 before going clear second time at 1.85 and 1.87. There was a scare at 1.89 which she only cleared on her final attempt. Her closest rival Emma Perkins (Worthing) went over first time but Ennis recovered her composure to nail 1.91 at her first attempt to wrap up the competition.
She said afterwards: “I’m really pleased. It’s my second competition of the indoor season so it’s nice to start off jumping in the 90s because that’s what I need to do in the pentathlon or heptathlon so I’m always happy if I can come out and jump like that, it’s promising for the rest of the year”.
Although not a medal contender, Ennis had a good shot put performance of 14.09 metres to finish sixth. It is a near perfect start for Sheffield’s Olympic hope although her immediate target is the defence of her World Indoor Pentathlon title in Istanbul next month.
Ennis had also entered the long jump although it was never certain that she would do all four events. It was a sound decision to give the event a miss considering that it would have cut across the hurdles timetable.
Delighted with her hurdles performance, she said: “We’ve been doing a lot of work on my starts, so just trying to work on getting out the blocks quicker than I have done in the past and it seems to be working so I’m really pleased.
“I’m really, really happy with the weekend, it’s promising and it shows that training has gone well over the winter.”
Former Rotherham athlete Louise Bloor (Trafford) was in top form finishing runner up in the 200 metres. A personal indoor best of 23.83 seconds in winning her heat was followed by further improvement to 23.74 in taking silver behind Margaret Adeoye (Enfield).
Bloor also ran two personal bests in the 60 metres heat (7.46) and semi final (7.43) going on the finish sixth in the final.
Luke Cutts (Dearne ALC) placed fourth in the pole vault with an encouraging 5.45 metres, 10 centimetres behind winner Andre Sutcliffe but the same height as the silver and bronze medallists.
Richard Buck (City of York), who competes for Sheffield in British League events, finished third in the 400 metres after recording the fastest times in heat and semi final. Buck started well and finished strongly but dropped back on the second lap in a race won comfortably by Nigel Levine (Windsor). Unlikely to be picked for the individual event in Istanbul, Buck should have done enough to secure a relay place. City of Sheffield athlete Thomas Phillips did well to reach the final where he finished sixth in 47.54
Jamie Williamson (City of Sheffield) was sixth in the shot with 15.70 metres.