'Jessica will strike gold in London'

ONE of Great Britain's greatest ever athletes expects Sheffield's Jessica Ennis to break two records en route to a gold medal glory in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Colin Jackson, a three-time world champion in the 110 metres hurdles, believes Ennis has the potential to surpass Denise Lewis's and Carolina Kluft achievements in the heptathlon.

Ennis, nominated for the prestigious Laureus Sports Award next month, scooped the gold medal at the European Championships last year after achieving a lifetime best tally of 6,823 points, finishing just eight points shy of Lewis's 10-year-old British record.

Kluft, now retired from the event to focus on long jump, has backed Ennis to pass her European record points total of 7,032 in the near future.

"Many people doubted Jess and said she was too small and she wasn't going to make it but I have always been singing her praises," Jackson told The Star. "I said six years ago that she was going to be the face of the London Olympic Games.

"It is absolutely fantastic to see her fulfilling her potential. I believe she is going to be an Olympic champion next year.

"I think she has got the capacity to get over 7,000 points and if she manages to do that then I don't see many people out there who will be capable of beating her."

Ennis, who will turn 25 at the end of the month, is set to compete in the AVIVA international event in Glasgow on January 29 before the AVIVA Indoor UK trials and Championships in Sheffield next month.

Handling the weight of expectation promises to be Ennis's major challenge. The Woodseats star also revealed recently her engagement to boyfriend Andy Hill, a 26-year-old construction site manager, after he popped the question on Christmas Eve.

But Jackson, who has just released a book entitled 'My Sporting Icons', is confident Ennis's workload will not interfere with her performances on the track.

"Jess has lots of good people around her and she knows exactly what she wants," said the Welshman, who is coming to Sheffield for the 'Strictly Come Dancing Tour' on January 17. "The people around her are vastly experienced and will make sure she goes in the right direction.

"They will make sure that her mind is on the job. They will tell her what she needs to do and keep her focused on dealing with the bread and butter of the heptathlon.

"She knows what she needs to do so I don't think she will be distracted. It doesn't matter what happens; she will be switched on when it matters and that is the key."

Jackson reckons Ennis has yet to reach her peak, insisting: "She can do better in every single discipline.

"She is young and she has still got to mature but once she does that I'm sure she will improve in every single event from the shot putt to the hurdles."

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