No more injury fears for goodbye girl Jessica Ennis-Hill

Jessica Ennis-Hill with BBC presenter Mark Chapman on stage during the Olympic and Paralympic athletes celebration parade in Manchester.
Jessica Ennis-Hill with BBC presenter Mark Chapman on stage during the Olympic and Paralympic athletes celebration parade in Manchester.
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Jessica Ennis-Hill will be at ease in retirement having feared injury issues could ruin her goodbye from athletics had she carried on.

The 30-year-old heptathlete last week called time on her career and elected not to aim for next year’s World Championships in London, which will be staged at the venue where she claimed Olympic gold in 2012.

The golden girl of British athletics had the chance to bid farewell to the public at a parade in Manchester on Monday as an estimated 200,000 lined the streets and applauded 350 Team GB and Paralympics GB athletes for the 214 medals the teams accrued in Brazil.

And while the mention of Ennis-Hill’s retirement was booed by fans hoping she would continue, she insisted the call was prompted by a worry over her ability to maintain top physical condition.

“My body can’t cope with the volume of training that it used to,” she told BBC Sport.

“It was that fear of, ‘Do I push on that one more year and potentially get injured and come away disappointed?’

“Doing the heptathlon, you’ve got to be 100 per cent motivated; you have to want to do the training or you’re not going to get anywhere with it.

“The past couple of years, I’ve struggled with injuries and Achilles problems. I’d have sessions that would go really well but then I’d be injured for a few days later.

“Do I say, ‘I’m in a really nice position here, I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve and more’ and do I walk away feeling really happy and satisfied? That’s what I wanted to do.”

Ennis-Hill was not the only gold medallist in attendance in Manchester on Monday as the likes of Alistair Brownlee, Jade Jones, Nicola Adams and Max Whitlock all braved the driving rain to celebrate their achievements in South America back in the summer.

“It’s been fantastic to see this support, we spend so much time away that you don’t always get a sense of what we have at home,” said Brownlee, who won triathlon gold ahead of his brother, Jonny.

“I saw so many people at the side of the road with so much enthusiasm - the cheering, the signs - it was really spectacular.”

The crowd were already aware of Ennis-Hill’s future prior to the parade but the next step for flyweight boxer Adams, a champion in London and Rio, is yet to be determined.

Bouts in the professional ranks have been mooted, as has a possible bid for a third Olympic crown in Tokyo in 2020, but the 33-year-old was guarded on the subject of her future on Monday.

“I’m not sure yet, I need to sit down with the team and decide where I’m going to go next after I’ve had a holiday,” she said.

“Seeing everyone who has turned out and seeing so much support out here, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone. Being here as a two-time gold medallist and having the support of the nation is unbelievable.”