Picture of defeat is motivator for Ennis

Old girl: Jessica Ennis with former teachers Janet Holmes and Mandy Marson

Old girl: Jessica Ennis with former teachers Janet Holmes and Mandy Marson

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times change but people stay the same.

The last occasion Jessica Ennis was interviewed for a newspaper at King Ecgbert school was 2003 when, as a bright-eyed teenager, she was preparing to compete at the World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke, Canada, while trying to fit in studying for her A Levels.

Jessica Ennis pipped for gold in South Korea by Russia's Tatyana Chernova

Jessica Ennis pipped for gold in South Korea by Russia's Tatyana Chernova

Just one journalist was in the room on that day.

Fast forward eight years and the scribes had come from far and wide to speak to Ennis - the great British hope for next summer’s Olympic Games in London.

While Ennis’s profile has risen exponentially over the last few years, the 25-year-old is still the same down-to-earth Sheffield lass who can’t for one minute consider herself to be mentioned in the same breath as sporting superstars.

Yet she is.

Reminded of that first interview she said: “Yeh, I remember it. The school has changed so much since then though.

“I think I finished fifth at those Youth Championships.”

Defeat was a topic touched on often yesterday. Losing her world title to Russia’s Tatyana Chernova in September clearly still hurts.

She said she’s now using the result as motivation: “There was a picture of me and Chernova crossing the line after the 800 metres and she is really celebrating and you can see in my face that I’m obviously gutted.

“And that image will stay in my mind because I don’t want to be in that position again. I am going to get a print of it.

“Things like that do help you, you think about those situations and it helps you push yourself a little more. I had the drive before but I’ve got that image in my head.”

As the Games draw nearer the pressure will build on Ennis to win gold in London. To do so would change her life for ever. However, she says, at the moment people would be surprised at how low key her everyday schedule is

She joked: “People think I just go running round the streets and do super human things! I train really hard , but I’m pretty normal really and have a pretty normal life.”

But for how much longer?

Ennis will be in action at the Aviva Indoor UK Trials and Championships at the EIS Sheffield, February 11-12. For tickets or more information go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series or phone 08000 556 056.

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