Athletics: Jessica Ennis-Hill sends out a warning that she's ready for Rio
Yet again Jessica Ennis-Hill looks to be timing her preparation perfectly with a crushing victory in an international heptathlon in Ratingen, Germany, over the weekend.
She scored a huge 6733 points compared with runner up Carolin Schafer (6476) and her German team mate and former winner Jennifer Oeser (6058).
It is a higher score that she recorded when winning the World title last year and is behind only Canadian Brianne Theison-Eaton in this year’s World rankings.
Ennis-Hill was in the lead from the start with 13.15 in her favourite event, the 100 hurdles.
This was followed by solid performances in the high jump (1.84), shot (14.28) and 200 metres (23.36) for a first day score of 3990.
She had a sensational start to the second day with a personal best long jump. The event has often proved to be a problem for the Sheffield athlete but not yesterday.
She produced a superb leap of 6.63 for a score of 1049 points.
It was the most encouraging event of the weekend for Ennis-Hill who went on to throw 44.37 in the javelin and finally run 800 metres in 2:11.46.
There is little doubt that the Olympic Champion can go three seconds faster than that if she needs to and she will trim her other times and exceed her distances as she puts the finishing touches to her preparation for Rio where an epic clash with Theison-Eaton looks on the cards.
Denise Lewis, 2000 Olympic heptathlon champion, said on the BBC that Ennis-Hill’s performance had made her favourite for gold in Rio.
“Yes, Jess has had her injury problems,” she said. “Almost inevitably athletes don’t pick the right decisions. With Jess Ennis-Hill, she always makes the right decisions. She competes when she is ready.
“The performances she has produced are testament to the decisions she does make. I am quietly confident about her chances (in Rio).
Luke Cutts (City of Sheffield and Dearne) won the pole vault at the UK Championships and Olympic Trials at Birmingham over the weekend.
However, his Olympic selection is in the balance as he has only done the qualifying standard on one occasion during the qualifying period.
He has the chance to seek further competition but if the selectors show some generosity – for which they have not been renowned in recent years – he could be in the team without further competition, particularly as he beat one of his fiercest rivals Steve Lewis.
Sheffield’s Nic Cole was fifth in the vault with 4.95.
Daniel Gardiner (City of Sheffield) won the long jump, his first round effort of 7.67 just prevailing by a centimetre, and there was a medal for his Sheffield team mate Joe Dunderdale, third in the javelin with 71.87.
After leading for most of the race, Sheffield’s Lee Emanuel was lacking finishing speed and faded to fifth in the 1500 metres whilst another Sheffield athlete Rick Yates was fifth in the 400 hurdles, Sheffield walker Natalie Myers also placed fifth in the 5K walk.
City of Sheffield junior Adam Hague, although entered for the pole vault at Birmingham, was at Mannheim, Germany, instead where he finished second in a junior international meeting with a clearance of 5.20