Sheffield’s Jess pledges to return to athletics after baby born

Jessica Ennis-Hill is pregnant.
Jessica Ennis-Hill is pregnant.
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Jessica Ennis-Hill insists she can juggle motherhood and the preparation that will go into defending her Olympic heptathlon title in Rio de Janeiro.

Britain’s London 2012 multi-discipline gold medallist has announced she and husband Andy Hill are expecting their first child this summer.

The pregnancy means Ennis-Hill – who said it was ‘very unexpected’ news – will miss this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

But, with coach Toni Minichiello, plans are already being drawn up for the 27-year-old Sheffield athlete to target next year’s World Championships.

And in 2016 Jess will aim for more glory on the Olympic stage in Brazil.

On Facebook she said: “It is very early days, and we are both incredibly excited and a little anxious too! I have been lucky in that I feel very good and have no crazy cravings yet!!

“I am going to maintain a steady training programme and return to full-time athletics post baby Ennis-Hill arriving, and the thought of going for another World and Olympic medal really excites me.

“My team are setting me an adapted programme for the next few months and then for post baby and I know they will do an amazing job as always.

“2014 will be a very different journey to the one I had planned but one I am sure will be fun!

“The one thing that has been hard is knowing I won’t be able to compete in Glasgow as I was really looking forward to it – but I will be watching and giving the event all my support in the next few months and from the sidelines – or from the sofa with my feet up – in July.”

In an official statement she said she and Andy were ‘completely overwhelmed, with excitement and a degree of anxiety I am sure all first-time parents will relate to’.

“My plans for 2014 have been completely turned upside down, but having had a couple of weeks to think about things from a career point of view I am 100 per cent set on returning to full-time athletics once our baby is born and go for a second gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016 – that challenge really excites me.

“But in the short term I will make our baby a priority and enjoy the whole experience as much as possible.”

Later she tweeted: “We couldn’t be happier. It’s a very exciting time.”

Minichiello confirmed Jess remains in training. It is possible she could compete during the indoor season in early 2015.

Heptathlon in Beijing is aim - coach

Tony Minichiello will work with physiologist Dr Steve Ingham and physio Alison Rose to keep Jess on track for her return.

And the coach is adamant his star pupil is targeting the heptathlon rather than a single event, such as the sprint hurdles.

He said: “At this stage we’re talking heptathlon.

“She’s been training fully to this point.

“You’ve got three three-month periods within the pregnancy and the work we do will vary, and in the first two months after giving birth, as long as everything goes to plan, you set things up very steadily.

“We’ll take it a step at a time and make sure everything is put in place for her to do the hard work.

“There is the indoor season potentially but certainly the World Championships in Beijing will be the aim.

“She’ll have to do a heptathlon before that in order to qualify. Getting her fit for May, that will be the primary focus, with the possibility of an indoor season before that.”