HEPTATHLON queen Jessica Ennis returns to her home city of Sheffield this weekend looking to sharpen up on her weaker disciplines.
The 25-year-old, who attended King Ecbert School in Dore, is set to compete in the Aviva Indoor UK Trials and Championships at the English Institute of Sport (EIS).
Ennis, the world heptathlon champion, plans to use the event to finalise her preparations for the European Indoor Championships.
Both at the EIS and the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham next week, Ennis will contest a select few individual events against opponents specialising in just one discipline. She feels competing against specialists will only improve her performance.
“It’s tough, especially when I’m going to compete in events like long jump because it’s not my strongest,” she said. “When you’re amongst a world class field you have to know what you are doing and have to remind yourself you’re a multi-eventer in the mix. But it’s also good to be in there, to improve and prepare for the pentathlon or heptathlon.
“And with girls like Tiffiny (Ofili) and Shara (Proctor) now it means there will always be a battle in those events [hurdles and long jump respectively] which helps everyone. This season will be about doing similar things to last year. Indoors I want to improve on the long jump, I’ve only done two this year so far.
“I used to hate the shot put but as I’ve improved and got to know the detail behind them I’ve learnt to enjoy it more.”
Ennis, who had to withdraw from the event last year, is relishing the prospect of performing in front of her home public and admitted: “I love competing in Sheffield. It’s always nice to be in my home city and have the local support and it’s good to give them a chance to see you compete.”
It was only a fortnight ago Ennis notched a fine victory over world indoor champion Lolo Jones in the 60m hurdles in Glasgow.
Ennis featured in the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham in 2006, finishing in sixth-place.
“Those Euros were great because we were in front of a home crowd,” she said. “I guess it was like what London will be [next year], but on a much smaller scale. I remember seeing how Carolina (Kluft) coped with the European Outdoors when they were in Gothenburg. She went in as favourite and the crowd reacted to her, and it lifted her.”
The star-studded event also features Dwain Chambers, Andy Turner, Mark Lewis Francis and Kelly Sotherton. World indoor champion Chambers and Lewis Francis will compete in the 60m, European and Commonwealth champion Turner in the 60m hurdles whilst Sotherton, an Olympic bronze medallist in the heptathlon is hoping for a strong display in the 400m after an injury hit 2010 season.
For more information on Aviva Indoor UK Trials and Championships, ring 08000 556 056 or log on to uka.org.uk/aviva-series