Jessica Ennis has set her sights on sending out a warning to her Olympic rivals when she competes in her first heptathlon of the year this weekend.
The 26-year-old face of the Games will take on her main contenders for gold in London at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis.
Ennis has a point to prove after having to settle for silver behind Russia’s Tatyana Chernova at last year’s World Championships and also behind Nataliya Dobrynska of Ukraine at the World Indoor Championships in March.
But she will go into the event on the back of victory over 100 metres hurdles at the Great CityGames in Manchester.
She beat hurdles specialists Dawn Harper and Danielle Carruthers, the Olympic champion and world silver medallist respectively, on a specially-constructed city-centre track, some achievement even if her time of 12.75 seconds could not count as a personal best because a blunder meant only nine hurdles were set up rather than 10.
The hurdles is the first event in heptathlon competition, and Ennis’ strongest of the seven, and she knows a good start will be crucial.
“I need to run that time in a heptathlon, but it’s been great to just have a race, get sharp and I can hopefully do something similar next weekend,” the Sheffield athlete said. “It’s important for me to just get race sharp ahead of next weekend. I’d love to run a time like that in the hurdles in Gotzis and just get some solid performances in, just make sure everything is consistent.”
Ennis was let down in Daegu last year by a poor javelin and indoors in Istanbul by her long jump and she is determined for there to be no weak events in Gotzis.
“I just want really solid performances, not for one event to really let me down,” she said.
The organisers, meanwhile, of the Manchester event in which Ennis was robbed of a personal best in the 100 metres hurdles have apologised to her over the blunder.
David Hart, Nova International communications director, said: “We’re embarrassed and disappointed of course.
“We had an incredible day in Manchester. We had 40,000 people taking part in the Great Manchester Run in the morning and we had a CityGames where we managed to lay 220 metres of perfectly flat track out on Deansgate and then didn’t put the last hurdle out for a race, so it’s not our proudest moment.
“Clearly as organisers of major sporting events it’s an unacceptable error and we are disappointed and sorry.
“Nova as organisers take full responsibility for the mistake and I think it’s pretty safe to say that mistake won’t happen again.”
Toni Minichiello, Ennis’s coach, said she was keen not to dwell on the incident, saying: “Nobody is aiming to make mistakes. It’s unfortunate but you move on.”