The time of her life

Jessica Ennis clear the final hurdle on her way to winning the women's 60metre hurdles during the Aviva Grand Prix at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday February 18, 2012. See PA story ATHLETICS Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Jessica Ennis clear the final hurdle on her way to winning the women's 60metre hurdles during the Aviva Grand Prix at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday February 18, 2012. See PA story ATHLETICS Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
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Jess Ennis feels she’s in the best form of her life ... and no one can dispute it.

It may be early days in this all-important Olympic year but there’s no denying Sheffield’s multi-talented superstar is sending out an ultra-strong message to her rivals.

Catch me if you can?

That’s particularly appropriate for the 60 metres hurdles after a world class performance at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena.

She won the race in scintillating style with a personal best of 7.87 seconds - the fastest time in the world this year - after she’d given notice a fortnight ago in Sheffield when she twice equalled her previous personal best of 7.95 seconds.

Jess beat American Danielle Carruthers, who had taken silver in the 100m hurdles in last year’s World Championships in Daegu, and on this form she’d be favourite to strike gold in the individual event in next month’s World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. As it is she’s more pressing needs in the pentathlon.

The hurdles has always been one of her strengths but a new starting technique, honed during winter training at the English Institute of Sport, has now made her almost unbeatable.

“We’ve worked really hard on my start; just getting out of the blocks better and attacking the first hurdle,” she said.

“That’s what I lacked in the previous season so sharpening up and attacking that hurdle is giving me so much more.

“Previously, I’ve come out of the blocks and backed off a bit at the first hurdle just to prepare to jump it. But you need to get all that momentum going forward and just attack the hurdle as if it wasn’t there. I’m still learning but it’s improved so much.

“I feel in really good shape. To run that much under my PB is just brilliant.”

Jess took that ‘buzz’ from the hurdles into the long jump where she set another indoor personal best of 6.47 metres.

On the evidence so far, she could well be on course to break the pentathlon world record of 4,937 - a mark that has stood for the last 20 years - as she only finished 54 points short when she won her World crown in Doha two years ago.That, of course, won’t be uppermost in her mind; overcoming her Russian rival Tatyana Chernova and avenging her defeat in the heptathlon at last year’s World Championships, is what really matters as it would give her a huge psychological lift in the build up to the London Olympics.