Sheffield athletics fans may have lost out on the chance to see the city’s best ever female athlete perform on home soil next weekend - but they should not worry about Jessica Ennis-Hill’s determination to bounce back from injury.
So says Maltby sprint ace Louise Bloor, who will be one of the stars of the Indoor British Championships at the city’s English Institute of Sport.
A reoccurrence of a problem with Ennis-Hill’s right Achilles means she misses the entire indoor season. With the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on the horizon, fans want reassurance Ennis-Hill’s will be back. Bloor has had to overcome her own injury issues in her time, thinks the Olympic heptathlon champion will come through in time to defend her title.
Asked about her pal’s injury, she said: “I was gutted for her. I knew she was going in for a scan, but hoped it would come back clear. The week before she had been in great shape she was flying - looking stronger than ever. Fortunately the injury is not as bad as first feared and I know she’s training hard on the bike.”
Ennis-Hill is not going to be out long, she said. “She was supposed to be at the EIS, it is a blow for Sheffield people who love watching her. She has not done the indoors for a while, had Reggie, (her son) but people can be reassured that she is doing great.”
The likely star of the EIS tournament will be Dina Asher-Smith, the favourite over Bloor to win the 60m race. Asher-Smith is a 20-year old Londoner who set a new British record of 22.07 seconds in the 200m, finishing fifth at the World Athletics Championship in Beijing.
Another one to watch will be Adam Gemili, a 22-year-old also from the capital, 2014 European champion at 200 metres, medalist in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and a former World Junior champion at 100 metres.
With the incentive of places on the GB team for the Worlds in America up for grabs, Bloor is hoping to continue her recording personal bests -she was brilliant in the Vienna Indoor last month.
Bloor, whose working life involves nutritional advice for British Diving, Taekwondo and Judo athletes in Sheffield, says her favourite disciplines are 100 meters and relay which “is fun and doesn’t hurt so much.”
Her short-term aim is to “run fast, be smart and consistent.”
“I am still getting quicker, my head has not hit the ceiling yet. I was injured at quite a young age and have a few years in the bank. I am enjoying competing more than I ever did.”
The Rotherham athlete, who has been coached by Tony Minichiello for 13 years, has been invited on to relay training camps and is hopeful of a spot in Rio.
That Olympics have been overshadowed by an outbreak of mosquito-borne Zika virus, but Bloor says: “The jury is out on this, athletes are standing back until all the information is available.”
Meanwhile the Sheffield event is a sell-out.
Last year, Ennis-Hill rival in the heptathlon, Katarina Johnson-Thompson set a new British high jump record at this event, while Jenny Meadows won an incredible seventh indoor title, sub-10 man Chijindu Ujah won a thrilling men’s 60m and Asher-Smith took the women’s 60m British title.