Ennis edges closer to world bests

JESSICA Ennis was a 12-year-old schoolgirl at King Ecgbert's the last time a British athlete smashed an indoor world record.

Sheffield's action woman would have been more absorbed with Maths and History rather than recognising Ashia Hansen's triple jump achievement in 1998 in Spain.

But now questions are being raised whether the 2011 version of Ennis can make similar headlines in the pentathlon at the European Indoor Championships at France's Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy (March 4-6.)

Last year, Ennis won the world indoor title with a 4,937 points haul, the third best of all time.

That's some way behind the 4,991 harvested by Russian athlete Irina Velova in 1992 though.

And Ennis - always well grounded despite the international glare of publicity - is humble about her chances of scaling that heady peak.

"It's hard to say because you've got to do everything right, but I think if I can keep training going the way it is and perform well on the day it would be nice to get closer to the world record.

"I can't imagine having a world record. It's a massive thing but I'll give it everything and see how close I can get."

Ennis is currently recovering from a knee twinge suffered in competition at Sheffield's EIS last weekend, as she prepares for an exciting season ahead.

She is also under scrutiny to see if she can break the 7,000-points ceiling in the pentathlon.

Last year, she moved up to 6,823. She says: "I now view it as being a bit more of a realistic target than I did before.

"It just seemed so far out there, but now, after scoring 6,800 I'm creeping a little bit closer," she told Athletics Weekly.

"It's still 200-points more. It's still a lot and that 7,000-point barrier seems like it's so big, so far away. But I am getting closer and over the next couple of years it's going to be a case of really fine, tiny, improvements.

"It's not going to be a sudden 300-point personal best that gets me there, setting PBs in every event. It'll be creeping up in little bits.

"If I can do that maybe one day, if I'm lucky, them I'll get there."

Ennis sees little chance of breaking the heptathlon world record set by the iconic Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

She said of the American's score of 7,291: "It's just ridiculous, it's just mad. I can't see anyone breaking the world record for a long time."

Ennis is scheduled to face Lolo Jones over the 60 metres hurdles at the Aviva International Match in Glasgow a week on Saturday, looking to repeat the shock win she achieved over the American 12 months ago.

Last night, the Sheffielder won the Sports Personality of the Year Award in the South Yorkshire Sports Awards.

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