Job done in Austria in spectacular style, next stop New York for all-round athletics superstar Jess Ennis.
The countdown to the World Championships in South Korea in August continues and after her amazing performance in the World Combined Events Challenge in Gotzis, very few people would bet against her retaining her heptathlon crown.
Jess heads to the Big Apple on June 11 for the star-studded Diamond League Grand Prix meeting where she will test herself against the best in long jump and hurdles.
“It’s very competitive and there are some high quality athletes taking part but Jess wouldn’t have it any other way,” said coach Toni Minichiello. “The better the quality the more she likes it.”
Minichiello admitted that he was surprised but subsequently delighted by Ennis’ victory in Austria which saw her land a winning total of 6,790 points - the second highest of her career - and extend her two year unbeaten record in multi-events competition. Even more so considering she was not even at peak fitness after missing eight weeks of winter training due to a troublesome ankle injury.
“We’d set a target of between 6,400 and 6,500 points. I felt she was capable of getting somewhere around this mark but to better it by nearly 300 points and to win the event by 251 points was very pleasing,” he added. “Her tally was more than the winning total from the last Olympics and her rivals will see her coming back from imjury and still beating them.
“You have to take a number of things into account but Jess delivered. Her long jump was the first she has done off the full run and there was a full approach to the javelin. The good thing is we both feel there’s more to come.”
People in Sheffield and beyond have always believed she was a class act and this time round Jess proved she’s in a class of her own.
She led from start to finish and set personal bests of 23.11 seconds in the 200 metres and 2mins 8.46 seconds in the 800 metres.
The first day began with a 100m in 13.03 seconds, 1.91m in the high jump, 13.94m in the shot and that PB in the 200m. It left her on target to break Denise Lewis’ British record but a leap of 6.37m in the long jump, a throw of 43.83m in the javelin and that best yet in the 800m, left her 41 points short.
“I just felt a massive, massive relief,” said Jess. “I didn’t want to come and produce a poor score and send out the wrong message with the World Championships later on in the year. It was a bit of a gamble but as I started training I found I was in quite good shape and running well. The gamble has paid off and it’s given me so much confidence.
“I’m so pleased and really surprised. I didn’t think for one minute I could score that and win as well.
“Now I know that if I have an injury I can get myself in shape in six weeks.”