Caution? What caution?
Sheffield star Jessica Ennis made light of her own fitness worries by turning in a devastating display at this weekend’s multi-event Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis, Austria.
After missing almost two months of training with a tendon injury in her left ankle, Ennis and her team were playing down expectations before taking on the world’s best in her first heptathlon of the season.
But as soon as she’d taken her customary lead after the first event - 13.03 seconds in the 100 metre hurdles - her rivals were left trailing.
Ennis, aged 25, admitted it had been a gamble to put her unbeaten record on the line. She said: “I always wanted to come but then halfway through my injury I started to think there wasn’t enough time to be ready.
“I had about six weeks to prepare and that’s about the bare minimum you’d need. I didn’t want to come and produce a poor score and send out the wrong message with the World Championships this year.
“I’m so glad that’s over. I think I’m actually in the best running shape of my life considering I missed so much. I think some of the technical things were off, but I’m so pleased and really surprised.
“I didn’t for one minute think I could score that and win as well.”
Ennis followed her ‘rusty’ hurdles time with 1.91m in the high jump, 13.94m in the shot put and a personal best of 23.11 seconds in the 200m to be well clear after day one.
It left her on target to break Denise Lewis’s British record yesterday but despite leaping 6.37m in the long jump, throwing 43.83m in the javelin and scorching round the 800m in 2:08.46 her total of 6,790 was just 41 points short.
Ennis said she was just relieved to come through unscathed: “I’m always nervous before a heptathlon and just before that 800m I thought I could either be sick or cry.
“I’m so relieved now it’s done and I’m happy with my performance. I’ve done what I set out to do and I couldn’t ask for much more really.
“It was a bit of a gamble but as I started training I was in quite good shape and running well so I knew I could get myself in reasonably good shape and the gamble paid off.
“It’s given me so much confidence. Now I know that if I have an injury I can get myself into shape in six weeks and that’s good for this year and next year.
“I know people like Dobrynska (Olympic champion, Nataliya) will come out a different athlete at the World Championships, but it’s given me that confidence. I know I’ve got weeks more training to do and I can get myself in even better shape.”
Ennis’s coach Toni Minichiello told The Star her winning margin of 251 points was a surprise.
He said: “It was fairly solid throughout and a few significant things have come out of it. Her winning score is more than Dobrynska’s PB (personal best).
“It is more than the winning total from the last Olympics and also the other girls will see her coming back from injury and still beating them.
“We remain cautious because you never can tell what the others will do. Jess can only control her own performance. People may say she can’t have been that injured. Well, we know the truth.”
And Minichiello is confident there is more to come: “Her long jump was the first she has done off the full run. If she doesn’t get it right then her lead would have been cut. Overall we’re happy; a win of 250 points, that’ll do.”