Rio 2016: Jessica Ennis-Hill slips to third after two events in defence of heptathlon title in Rio

Jessica Ennis-Hill
Jessica Ennis-Hill
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Sheffield's Jessica Ennis-Hill made a solid start to the defence of her Olympic heptathlon title in Rio today, winning her 100m hurdles heat - before finishing third in the high jump.

The Sheffield star was eliminated from the high jump after failing to clear 1.92m - leaving her on 2,242 points overall, just 22 points shy of British rival Katarina Johnson-Thompson who leads after two disciplines.

Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam sits second, ten points ahead of Ennis-Hill, after leapfrogging the defending champion along with Johnson-Thompson following the high jump.

Ennis-Hill stormed to victory in the opening event, the 100m hurdles, with her time of 12.84 giving her a lead of 25 points.

But Johnson-Thompson – tipped to push Ennis-Hill all the way for gold along with Canada’s Brianne Theisen Eaton – roared back in the high jump, breaking the British record with a 1.98m clearance.

Next up is the shot put which will begin at 12.35am in the early hours of Saturday, followed by the 200m which starts at 2.05am.

The 1.89m clearance made by Ennis-Hill in the high jump bettered her performance in the discipline at London 2012 where she secured gold. But on that occasion she held onto top spot heading into the shot put, one of her weaker events.

She will be back in action at 3.45pm on Saturday in the long jump. The javelin begins at midnight with the heptathlon concluding with the 800m at 2.50am on Sunday.

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Ennis-Hill flew in to Rio on Saturday after opting to miss the Team GB training camp in Belo Horizonte.

Jessica Ennis-Hill in the 100m hurdles

Jessica Ennis-Hill in the 100m hurdles

Instead she geared up for the Games in Europe - she declined to say where, only that it was "nothing glamorous or exciting" - in order to minimise the amount of time she would have to spend away from young son Reggie.

And Ennis-Hill, who had to overcome an Achilles injury earlier in the year, but is now feeling "fit and healthy", is inspired by the chance to create memories in Rio that Reggie can treasure.

"It was so nice having him there (at her training camp), coming down to the track and doing his little bit of hurdling alongside me," she said.

"Every time I ran, he was going, 'Mummy, go, go, go'. He's aware of everything now, he knows what mummy does, he tries to copy what I do.

Jessica Ennis-Hill celebrates a clearance in the high jump

Jessica Ennis-Hill celebrates a clearance in the high jump

“He will have all those memories, DVDs, pictures, to look back on.

“I would love my performances to be great out in Rio, to show what him what his mum achieved just two years after he was born."

Ennis-Hill is also looking to become the first British woman to retain an Olympic title in athletics: "I see it as a massive challenge for me," she said.

"Last year (when she won the world title in Beijing in her first major competition since giving birth) was a massive challenge and I feel like the odds are a little bit against me because it's a huge thing to achieve.

“But it's a really amazing position to be in. I relish this opportunity to go out there and see if I can do something really amazing at this stage in my career."

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson celebrates breaking the British record in the high jump

Katarina Johnson-Thompson celebrates breaking the British record in the high jump