Sheffield’s Jessica Ennis closes in on 7,000 landmark

For leader read winner: Jessica Ennis enjoys her great weekend in Gotzis.'                     Picture: john giles/pa wire
For leader read winner: Jessica Ennis enjoys her great weekend in Gotzis.' Picture: john giles/pa wire
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WORLD class Sheffield athlete Jessica Ennis is bidding to join an elite club at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Only three women have surpassed 7,000 points in the history of the heptathlon and Ennis will fancy her chances of matching that feat this summer following her superb performance in Gotzis, Austria.

She blew away the competition, beating her main rivals for gold and breaking Denise Lewis’s 12-year-old British record in Austria. Ennis won with 6,906 points and by a massive margin of 132 points over Tatyana Chernova, defeating the world champion in five of the seven events.

Now Ennis, aged 26, is aiming to emulate Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who set a world record 7,291 when she scooped Olympic gold in 1988 at the same age as Ennis is now.

In fact, Ennis, who lost her world pentathlon title to Nataliya Dobrynska in March, would have gone beyond the 7,000 milestone had she equalled her own personal best of 1.95 metres in the high jump.

But Chernova insists she still has room for plenty of improvement and has questioned whether Ennis will have the temperament to cope with such a colossal weight of home expectation once the Games get under way.

Chernova said: “If people just look at one girl, it will be very hard for her to compete. I don’t know what is in her mind. But everyone in the stadium will want her to get a result, and there will be great attention on her.

“For me there won’t be many Russian fans in the stadium. My country is far from London but I know people will be supporting me back home. It (the atmosphere) will help me because I’m not afraid of anyone.”

Ennis’ coach, Toni Minichiello, is certainly refusing to get carried away despite watching his charge become only the eighth woman in heptathlon history to score more than 6,900 points.

Minichiello said: “It’s lovely to win but there are 11 weeks to go, 11 weeks of work - or 10; I might give her a week off.

“It’s back home now to have a look through the film and debrief and see where we go from there.”