Jess Ennis cleared the first hurdle on her comeback after injury ... and in some style.
Sheffield’s World and European heptathlon champion gave herself a surprise boost for her season’s first competitive challenge at the end of the month, with an impressive return to action at the Powerade 10N4 great City Games in Manchester.
Jess, competing for the first time since a troublesome ankle injury, clocked 12.88 seconds in the 100m hurdles on a raised track on Deansgate.
It was good enough for third place in a field of hurdles specialists but it was the time, the fourth fastest of her career, that brought her instant satisfaction.
“Coming into this I really didn’t know where I was (fitness wise) so to run 12.88 shows that I’m in good shape,” she said.
“One massive positive to take from the day is that my ankle feels good.
“Hopefully I can just keep improving all year.”
Jess was less impressed with her 17.40 seconds return in the 150m after a poor start.
The top-class multi-eventer is set to compete in the javelin and possibly one other event at Sunday’s Loughborough International before she takes on her main heptathlon rivals in a premier meeting in Gotzis, Austria on May 28-29.
Not surprisingly, her coach Toni Minichiello, has warned not to expect too much from the meeting which is seen as a stepping stone towards the World Championships in South Korea.
He said: “If you’re expecting her to go there and beat people and score huge scores and a personal best, I’d say I don’t think that will be the case.
“I think she can go there and be competitive but Jess will be up against everybody in Gotzis so she’ll be nervous to see whether she’s on her game.”