Sheffield’s Jess Ennis sets her sights on magnificent 7,000

Golden girl: Jessica Ennis with her Olympic gold medal at the Civic Reception in Barker's Pool.                                 Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA
Golden girl: Jessica Ennis with her Olympic gold medal at the Civic Reception in Barker's Pool. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA
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IF you want to be poetic about it then it’s all too easy to wax lyrical about Golden Girl Jessica Ennis returning to training by running up the same hills in a Sheffield park that gave her the strength to win the Olympic title.

The reality is a little bit different. Hard work is hard work whether you’re one of the most recognisable faces in sport or not. And with it comes a certain pride of not letting standards slip.

Jess freely admits that the she’s fully enjoying the fruits of winning Olympic gold on that glorious night for British athletics on August 4.

The celebrity circuit is being pounded - her book ‘Jessica Ennis: Unbelieveable’ is out on November 8 - in amongst fitting in life’s normal mundane matters of shopping or going to the bank.

But behind it all she still is what she always has been: a dedicated athlete. An athlete that has turned her sights on becoming one of the few women to break the 7,000 points barrier in the heptathlon.

“It’s a lot different now (being back at training) because of all the build up to London, what happened there and then everything that has gone on since,” she told The Star.

“I was eager to start training to get back into shape after the break and the fitness does come back really quickly with the work we’re putting in.”

After breaking her own British record to win gold in London, Jess demonstrated that she’s the dominant athlete in her chose discipline.

However, even in her romp to victory she was logging the areas that she could improve on.

“There’s still things that can be better,” she said.

“I have a high jump personal best of 1.95 metres and I have consistently jumped around 1.90 in the past (her London height was 1.86). I want to get back up there.

“I can be better in the shot put; there’s lots of little things that I can work on.”

Only three women - American Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Sweden’s Carolina Kluft and Russia’s Larisa Turchinskaya - have ever gone beyond the 7,000 point mark. A fourth heptathlete, Sabine Braun, has the fourth best score of 6,985 and Jess is fifth on the greatest ever list with 6,955.

She said the step up to 7,000 points isn’t that far away if she continues to improve.

“I’d need to put it all together over the two days to make it. I think only three or four women have done it or got close to it, so it is something I’d really like to do.

“The Olympic gold is the main thing for me and I’m so pleased to have won it.

“It would be good to get it; I’m not saying I will, but I’m going to have that as one of my goals.”

It’s unlikely that Jess will compete again in 2012. Plans for an indoor season in early 2013 are still to be finalised so for now it’s back to work under the guidance of Toni Minichiello and another new group of training partners including talented youngsters long jumper Jazmin Sawyers and 100m hurdler Ashley Helsby.

As well as getting used to life as someone everyone wants to meet.

She said: “The training group changes every year, I think I’m the last one standing from Chell’s (Minichiello) original group!

“It’s nice to have new people. It’s a big group and everyone does different things.

“It has been a really busy time with lots of different things. The last couple of months have been manic.

“I’ll never have the chance to experience this again, though, so I’ve been doing what I can.

“Before the Olympics everything was intense and focused on that, so now is a chance to enjoy these experiences.

“I’m getting used to being recognised now. Going shopping just takes a little bit longer now!”