Sheffield's Jessica Ennis-Hill proves her fitness in heptathlon opening day

Jess en route to Rio

Jess en route to Rio

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Jessica Ennis-Hill showed preparations for the defence of her Olympic title in Rio are firmly on track with an impressive opening day of the heptathlon in Germany.

In her first heptathlon since winning gold at the World Championships in Beijing last summer, Ennis-Hill led the way after four events with 3,990 points, just 15 short of her tally at the same stage in China.

In driving rain at the Stadtwerke Ratingen Mehrkampf-Meeting, conditions far from conducive to standout performances, the Sheffield athlete recorded her best results in the shot put (14.29 metres) and 200m (23.36 seconds) since London 2012.

She also clocked 13.13secs in the 100m hurdles and 1.84m in the high jump to lead Germany's Carolin Schafer by 188 points.

This showing was the clearest indication yet that Ennis-Hill is back fit and firing after the Achilles injury she picked up over the winter, which ruled her out of the indoor season and forced her to withdraw from last month's prestigious Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis.

It is performances rather than positions in Ratingen that will be at the forefront of Ennis-Hill's mind seven weeks out from the Games, but victory over Schafer, who recorded a personal best of 6,557 in Gotzis, would be a very positive sign.

Ennis-Hill, who has announced she will skip the Team GB holding camp in Belo Horizonte partly because of fears over the Zika virus and instead head to Rio at the last moment, scored 6,669 in Beijing last August.

A decent final three events in Ratingen - the long jump, javelin and 800m - would give in a score in that region again and a good platform from which to build towards the Olympics.

Canada's Brianne Theisen-Eaton, favourite for gold in Rio, leads the world rankings with 6,765.

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