Jess aims to be on fire for city squad

Clearing all hurdles: Jessica Ennis will have plenty of chances to perfect her technique over the next few weeks
Clearing all hurdles: Jessica Ennis will have plenty of chances to perfect her technique over the next few weeks

jessica Ennis begins the first of three consecutive weekends of action tomorrow as she competes for Sheffield Flames in the McCain Indoor City Challenge at the EIS.

The 26-year-old is stepping up her preparations ahead of next month’s defence of her World Indoor pentathlon title in Turkey.

But first local pride is as stake for Ennis and her Sheffield teammates - who are not all necessarily based in the city because of competition rules - as they take on seven other teams.

Ennis, who opened the season by winning the Northern title in the shot put a fortnight ago at the same venue, will continue to work through her heptathlon disciplines by taking part in the long jump and sprint hurdles.

And while Ennis missed last week’s Glasgow indoor international she’ll follow up tomorrow’s event by having a busy weekend at the UK Championships on Febuary 11 and 12 when she’ll do the high jump, shot put, hurdles and possibly the long jump.

The following Saturday, February 18, she’ll be at the Birmingham Grand Prix again competing in the long jump and hurdles.

Although the Ennis camp are not 100 percent satisfied with three weekends in a row of competition it will get her in top shape for the pentathlon (60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, 800m), which takes place over one day on March 9 in Istanbul.

Sheffield had dominated this competition until last year when they were beaten by London North and are hoping that Ennis will help them regain their title this time. The title is decided over two meetings, the second being in London next month.

Louise Bloor, who recently set a new 200 metres personal best in winning the Northern title, goes for both sprints and should be a big points scorer for the Sheffield team whilst Luke Cutts from Dearne could get maximum points in the pole vault.

The other teams are Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, London North, London South, Manchester and Newcastle.

The meeting starts at 12:55pm with Ennis in the long jump and she competes again towards the end of the meeting at 4:20pm.

n Sheffield team: Men: 60m D Gardiner (City of Sheffield), 200m L South (City of Sheffield), 400m T Burns (Richmond and Zetland), 800m R Smith (Sale), 1,500m A Whiteman (Shaftsbury Barnet), 60m Hurdles D Feeney (Amber Valley), High Jump M Roberts (Newham and Essex), Pole Vault L Cutts (Dearne ALC), Triple Jump L Harvey (Trafford), Shot J Williamson (City of Sheffield), Combined events J Lane (City of Sheffield).

n Women: 60/200m L Bloor (Trafford), 400m A Bell (Pudsey and Bramley), 800m E Moss (Woodford Green), 1,500m K Holt (Stoke), 60m Hurdles J Ennis (City of Sheffield), High Jump A Lassu (Sale), Long Jump J Ennis, Pole Vault A Haywood (Sale), Triple Jump K Cox (Leeds City), Shot A McKinna (Yarmouth), Combined events K Marchant (Leeds City).

n The South Yorkshire Cross Country take place tomorrow at Campsall, near Doncaster.