Most Brilliant Ennis: MBE for golden girl Jessica

MBE: Jessica Ennis. Photo:John Giles/PA Wire
MBE: Jessica Ennis. Photo:John Giles/PA Wire
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SHEFFIELD’S Golden Girl Jessica Ennis scooped yet another gong today - the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The World Champion heptathlete from Woodseats has been awarded the distinguished accolade in recognition of her services to athletics.

The 25-year-old is currently in New York to compete in the Adidas Grand Prix today, one of the premier track and field events in the world.

Speaking from the Big Apple, a delighted Jessica told The Star: “I really hope young people in Sheffield reading this will feel inspired to take up sport and will always strive to achieve their best.

“When I heard I was to be given an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours I felt so proud.

“It is hard to put into words what it feels like to get such an honour in recognition of my sporting achievements.

“I love my sport and can’t think of anything I would want to do more. “To be recognised for the years of hard work and the success I have had over the past two years means so much.”

Jess, a former pupil of King Ecgbert’s School in Totley, is one of Britain’s most hotly-tipped Olympic contenders for the London 2012 games.

Great hopes follow her success at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009, when she became the country’s first heptathlon gold medallist. The following year she scooped gold again at the European Championships in Barcelona.

Jessica, who this year got engaged to childhood sweetheart Andy Hill, started her career at the City of Sheffield Athletic Club where she has been a member since the age of 11.

She joins a host of names awarded accolades in this year’s Birthday Honours.

Golfer Lee Westwood, aged 38, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire - who until last month was the world’s number one player - receives the OBE, as does former Sheffield Sharks basketball star John Amaechi, 40.

He played for the Sharks’ BBL Trophy winning team in 1998 and once turned down a $17m deal from the LA Lakers. He became the first openly gay NBA player after coming out in 2007.

Jess also sent her congratulations to triple jumper Phillips Idowu, who like her was awarded the MBE.

“This is so good for the sport of athletics and I hope it will inspire all the young athletes out there,” she said.