This weekend’s Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games was always going to be a pivotal competition in Jessica Ennis-Hill’s decision-making process for the World Championships – and at the half-way stage the signs are promising.
In the first of three events scheduled for the 29-year-old over the two-day meet at the Olympic Stadium, Ennis-Hill recorded a season’s best 12.79 seconds in the 100m hurdles last night.
That event has traditionally been one of the Olympic heptathlete champion’s stronger events. And while many an athlete may have stumbled under the pressure of returning to a stadium of such memories, Ennis-Hill was in encouraging form.
US ace Jasmin Stowers took victory in 12.47s with Tiffany Porter edging out Ennis-Hill for British bragging rights in fourth.
But the multi-sport specialist was more encouraged by the time, admitting she had set herself a benchmark to follow for the rest of the weekend.
“I’m absolutely made up with that. I’m so pleased to have run that time, and especially here in this stadium, and at the right time of the year. I’m really happy,” said Ennis, speaking at the event, a partnership with British Athletics that builds on Sainsbury’s support for the 2012 Paralympics and recognises that sport can unite and inspire children of all ages.
“I shall need to rest up and prepare for Saturday. It’s looking positive.
“I’ve got to make sure all my events are where they need to be and Saturday will be a good indicator of that as well.
“I’m definitely feeling positive and confident but I need all my events to be like that really.
“To be honest, I was thinking I might run 13.1 or 13.0 and that would be really disappointing. So to have not just dipped under with a 12.90 but to get 12.79 is brilliant.”
Ennis-Hill’s attention now switches to today’s double header of the long jump and the 200m as she aims to go some way to replicating a multi-sport day of competition in the countdown to next month’s World Championships.
Whatever the outcome though, there is no doubt the Sheffield-born athlete remains a hit with the Olympic Stadium crowd, something that was not missed by Ennis-Hill.
“It’s incredible to be back. I love this stadium and the memories are so amazing. It’s really special to be here. As ever the crowd were brilliant,” she added.
“I have got so much motivation and coming back to this stadium has been unbelievable.
“I do feel really positive for Beijing after this evening especially with such a top quality field.”
# Sainsbury’s is a proud partner of British Athletics. The partnership reflects Sainsbury’s wider commitment to inspiring healthy lifestyles for all, and complements grassroots campaigns such as Active Kids and the Sainsbury’s School Games. www.sainsburys.co.uk