SHEFFIELD’S heptathlon queen Jessica Ennis is aiming to make giant strides in the leap year of 2012 ahead of the London Olympic Games.
The 25-year-old, based in Millhouses, has set her sights on a gold medal in the Olympic Stadium - to make up for the disappointment of missing the 2008 Games with a stress fracture.
She is well aware that, to do so, she will have to better Denise Lewis’s British heptathlon record of 6,831 points.
Jessica’s own personal best is 6,823 points - but if she matched her own record in each of the heptathlon’s seven disciplines, she would score 7,037. “I hope to find a few points in most events,” she said. “There’s plenty to come from the javelin and a bit more in the long jump and high jump.”
The scars from that Olympic disappointment three years ago are still evident, both physically and mentally. As well as fuelling her desire to make the podium in London, the stress fracture also forced Jessica to change her take-off leg from her right foot to her left in the long jump.
“I’m still working on it,” she admits. “But I can’t imagine going back to the other leg now. There’s still some technical and flight issues that I need to work on, but I definitely feel comfortable jumping off that leg. It feels normal.”
Jessica’s main competition for the Olympic gold she so covets appears to come from Tatyana Chernova, the world champion from Russia.
She said: “Chernova is a good long jumper, and most of the heptathletes are good long jumpers. It’d be great to find a bit more there so I don’t lose so much to them.”