JESSICA Ennis might be the golden girl in Great Britain but she’s getting used to being the bridesmaid on the global stage as another world title slipped through her fingers in Istanbul.
Dethroned as the world heptathlon champion last summer in Daegu, Ennis was stripped of her indoor title on Friday night, not by her 2011 conqueror Tatyana Chernova but this time by Olympic champion Natallia Dobrynska - the jumps - hers were neither high nor nearly long enough - proving her Achilles’ heel.
Ennis entered the fifth prong of the heptathlon in third place a full 93 points shy of Ukraine’s Dobrynska meaning she would have to oust the Beijing 2008 gold medallist by approximately six-and-a-half seconds over 800m.
A mammoth task, not least because Ennis had not competed over 800m in 2012 until last night, and one she would ultimately fail - even if she did romp to victory in that discipline in a new personal best of 2:08.09 to secure a new national record of 4965 points, only to lose out to Dobrynska’s 5013, a new world record.
“The nature of the sport is that you have good events and have bad events but the key is bringing it all together,” said Ennis.
“Two silver medals at World Championships are great but the position I was in going into those competitions, I would have loved to have won a gold medal.
“I do think that things happen for a reason and hopefully things will change for the better in the summer.
“I’ve learned loads from this and loads from Daegu and there are loads of things I think I can improve on. I’m stronger, I’m faster and I’m in better shape and hopefully I can bring it together in the summer.”
Ennis’ multi-events campaigns follow a similar pattern and in Istanbul it was no different - a superb hurdler in her own right she blitzed home in 7.91 seconds - a time she has bettered only once - to reap 1150 points after one event and a sizeable lead.
But on to the high hump and, staring down the barrel of settling for a best clearance of 1.84m - ten centimetres short of her personal best - Ennis went over 1.87m at her third and final attempt - an effort that got coach Toni Minichiello out of his seat and applauding, but that was as good as it got.
The gap at the top was subsequently narrowed and Ennis was expected to lose her lead after the shot put, only to produce a personal best of 14.79m to ensure she stayed atop of the pile by the slenderest of ten-point margins.
But the long jump proved her undoing. Ennis could manage just 6.19m, a full 38cm short of the personal best she set in Birmingham last month and as a result, Dobrynska, who won the long jump competition, moved into what proved an unassailable lead.
“Dobrynska has got a knack of coming out really strong in Olympic year, producing brilliant performances and winning gold medals - she’s in great form,” added Ennis.
“I take a lot from the fact that it was a world record that beat me. Obviously there’s the disappointment because I’ve lost my title. But there were some good performances as well as some things that I need to go away and work on.
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