First day crucial to Jess’s hopes of gold

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Jessica Ennis, Phillips Idowu and Mo Farah are the main gold-medal hopes for the British team at the World Championships starting in Daegu today, with Farah first off the blocks in tomorrow’s 10,000 metres.

Sheffield’s Ennis starts her title defence in the heptathlon on Monday in what promises to be an intriguing contest.

Russian Tatyana Chernova is generally considered to be Ennis’s biggest rival. With a best of 6773 compared with the Sheffield athlete’s score of 6823, she is, perhaps, a little too close for comfort.

But since her Olympic bronze in 2008, the Russian has been soundly beaten by Ennis in the World Championship and at last year’s European Championships when she finished out of the medals.

Chernova set her personal best this year, showing that she is coming into form at the right time.

Furthermore, her personal bests for the seven events total 7078 compared with 7023 for Ennis and so the potential for an upset is clearly there. But no-one will string together a series of personal bests in the two days of a heptathlon.

What makes this clash so intriguing is that Ennis is better at all the four events on the first day whereas Chernova is far better than the defending champion in the three events on the second day. Few heptathletes enjoy the 800 metres at the end and Chernova’s best is two seconds faster than Ennis’s.

Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska (Ukraine) is in the mix and other challengers RE Jennifer Oeser (Germany), Carolina Tyminska (Poland), and Antonietta Nana Djimou Ida (France)