SEBASTIAN Coe is backing Sheffield’s golden girl Jessica Ennis to regain her world title next year in Moscow.
With the Olympic gold medal already tucked away in her trophy cabinet Ennis has already said that she intends to complete a clean sweep of all the major championships.
After winning the world title in Berlin, in 2009 the former King Ecgbert School student was disappointed to lose it to Russia’s Tatyana Chernova two years later in Daegu, South Korea.
Now, after beating Chernova into third in London - Germany’s Lilli Schwarzkopf was second - Ennis will have to travel east onto the Russian’s home turf to reclaim her crown.
However, Lord Coe, who was in Sheffield this week promoting his autobiography ‘Running My Life’, thinks the incentive of beating Chernova in Moscow will elevate Ennis’ already high motivation levels.
He said: “I think it’s good. She will know that she will want to do it in their backyard after doing it in her own backyard. That’s a big incentive - and I know where my money is.”
Ennis has spoken of her desire to break the 7,000 point barrier in the heptathlon, which she may have to do to hold off Chernova next August, but Coe believes her defeat at the last World Championships may have helped her career in the long term.
“The great thing about sport is that you continually buy your ticket from station to station. Sometimes you get the rub of the green and sometimes you don’t.
“It’s often the moments when you don’t get what you think you’re going to get that define you and the rest of your career. I learnt more from the races I lost than the ones I won.”
Coe has recently taken over at chairman of the British Olympic Association after Colin Moynihan stepped down following the London Games. He has also accepted the post of President of the Game Fair at Chatsworth.
Even with big challenges ahead of him the 56-year-old former Tapton School student who said he forged his athletics career on the hills of Sheffield can’t resist reminiscing about this summer’s Olympics and Paralympics.
He said: “The noise in those stadiums... the British crowds were just spectacular and they were very generous. They didn’t just support Team GB or Paralympic GB, they cheered on athletes from around the world and sometimes when they were competing against Team GB.
“The delivery of the Games is not a one-man crusade. It has been made possible by millions of people in the UK and a hell of a chunk of them from this city.
“It was an unbelievable journey.”
Follow Richard on Twitter: @RichardFidler