Sheffield’s Jess Ennis goes from the peak of Olympic gold back to running up hills

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SHE’S one of the most recognisable faces in the country, but when Olympic champion Jessica Ennis returned to training this week there were still introductions to be done.

“We had some fun,” said coach Toni Minichiello. “We’ve brought a few new people into the training group so we all said ‘hello’.”

Things change, but stay the same. Ennis is now a darling of the British public after her heptathlon gold medal in London during the summer.

But she didn’t achieve sport’s greatest high by chance. It was through the kind of hard work that she’ll be doing again this winter as the build up to next year’s World Championships in Moscow begin.

“We started with hill running as usual,” said Minichiello. “She’s come back in great shape; she looked really good. It’s like when you start back for a new season with a football team. You just carry on where you left off, doing the same things. The plan is to work hard up to Christmas and then see where we are.

“We’ve brought a couple of new people into the training group. Jazmin Sawyers, who won bronze in the World Junior Championship at long jump and is also a Great Britain Youth Olympics bobsleigher, has moved to the University of Sheffield.

“And Ashley Helsby, who is a very exciting 100m hurdles prospect, is training with us as well.”

Ennis has yet to announce her competition calendar, so taking part in the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg during the first week of March is likely to be determined by whether she has an indoor season as all.