Jessica Ennis is confident her injury lay-off will not affect her bid to defend the world heptathlon title in Daegu this summer.
The 25-year-old was not able to run for seven weeks because of an injury to the plantaris muscle in her left leg, which ruled her out of the European Indoor Championships early last month.
The injury has been a bizarre one for the Millhouses-based Ennis. The plantaris muscle, in the same way as the appendix, has been rendered useless in the human body by evolution. Roughly 10 percent of people don’t even have one.
Her intention to do her first heptathlon of the year at the highly-competitive Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis, Austria, on May 28 and 29 shows she expects to be back to full fitness very soon.
Ennis is making her first appearance of the season at the Powerade ION4 Great City Games in Manchester on May 15. She will race over 150 metres and the hurdles on the specially-constructed city-centre track on Deansgate.
She said: “I’ve had to change and back off a lot of training in the past few weeks.
“I wasn’t able to run for about seven weeks, so I’ve had to miss a lot of high impact work and hurdling and jumping. Then I had to start building back into full training.
“Obviously it’s not ideal preparation (for the summer). I planned to go to the European indoors and was really looking forward to that.
“Looking back now I’m really glad I made that choice to not go because I think it would have made it a lot worse. I would loved to have not missed that amount of training, but I’m just starting back into running sessions now. I’m not actually that far behind.
“I was in such good shape for the indoors and you don’t lose it that quickly. Although I lost a little bit, I think it’ll come back quite quickly.”
Ennis triumphed in Gotzis last year before winning gold at the European Championships in Barcelona.
She was forced to pull out of the 2008 meeting, though, with a triple stress fracture of the right foot, an injury which ruled her out of the Beijing Olympics and threatened her career.
Ennis knows the ride to London 2012 will not be smooth. She said: “I know that between now and the Olympics there are going to be injuries, there are going to setbacks. It’s not ever going to be easy to make an Olympics or to try and contend for a gold medal, so I’m expecting a tough time.”