Jessica Ennis the sportswoman who overcomes hurdles: even imaginary ones

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ROUGHLY four years ago Jessica Ennis had a real problem.

Bones in her ankle and foot had given way to stress fractures that ruled her out of the Beijing Olympics and threatened her entire career.

As we know she regained her health and responded in such a fashion in her training that she has become a world champion indoors and out. And, into the bargain, become something of a sweetheart to the nation and the face of this summer’s Games.

It wasn’t just the expertise of the medical staff from the English Institute of Sport, or UK Athletics. It wasn’t just the patience and care from long-time coach Toni Minichiello or the support from her parents and fiance Andy.

More than anything it was her mental strength and her desire to succeed that dragged her out of the days of rehabilitation and back onto the track.

This weekend she suffered a minor blow, probably nothing more than an irritation in the grand scheme of things, but annoying nevertheless.

After beating two world-class hurdlers in what was a personal best time in Manchester on Sunday, Ennis learned that officials had placed only nine hurdles instead of 10. It is the second time this season that she has celebrated a perceived triumph only for her smile to fade as the true outcome became clear.

The first was at the World Indoor Championship in Turkey in March when the scoreboard indicated she had won. However, it was a case of a computer just spouting out information without taking into account champion Nataliya Dobrynska’s final time.

Sunday was different. Sunday was a shambles and provoked a reaction in Ennis that is very rarely seen or heard of: anger.

She had every right to be ticked off.

Ennis is strong in body, but if anything is stronger in the head. By Sunday night she was ‘over it’ with regards to the Manchester debacle.

Nobody needs to worry about Jess, she can overcome any hurdle - even ones that aren’t there.