It’s always encouraging to lay down a marker early in the season and Jess Ennis has done just that, in supreme style.
What’s more Sheffield’s multi-talented star athlete did it in front of a sell out home crowd in the Aviva UK Indoor Championships at the English Institute of Sport.
This was a weekend to savour for the 26-year-old as she hit the heights in the high jump; produced a double personal-best equalling performance in the 60m hurdles and increased her season’s best in the shot put.
It was a perfect start to the indoor season and there could be more to come this weekend when she contests the long jump at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham.
Jess took her flourth high jump title with a winning height of 1.91 metres - her best ever season’s opener and she continued with an impressive 14.09 metres in the shot to finish sixth.
She then carried this top form over to the sprint hurdles on the second day as she twice equalled her personal best of 7.95 seconds to demolish the field and pick up her first title in this event.
“I’m really pleased,” said Jess. “It’s good to start off jumping in the 90s because that’s what I need to do in the penatathlon or heptathlon so I’m always happy when I can come out and jump like that. It’s promising for the rest of the year.
“I said beforehand I wanted to throw in the 14s for the shot and I’m relatively happy to have done that. It would have been nice to build on this in later rounds but at least I’m throwing in that area because that’s what I’ll need at the World Championships.
“I’m delighted with the hurdles. To run that time back-to-back is great as we’ve been doing a lot of work on my starts, trying to get out of the blocks quicker than I have done in the past and it seems to be working.”
Once Birmingham is out of the way, Jess will concentrate on defending her pentathlon title at next month’s World Indoor Championships in Istanbul ... and renewing her rivalry with Russian Tatyana Chernova who took her World heptathlon crown from her in South Korea last year.
Jess is, literally, looking to put the record straight in the Turkish capital as she targets a possible world record attempt. She came close to breaking the mark in Doha two years ago with 4,937 points, just 54 short of Russian Irina Belova’s 20-year-old record.
Even if the record eludes her, Sheffield’s finest will happily settle for gold and victory over Chernova in the five-event showdown.