Jessica Ennis-Hill faces mother of all battles as she eyes World Championships medal in Beijing for son Reggie

Jessica Ennis-Hill faces mother of all battles as she eyes World Championships medal in Beijing for son Reggie

  • Jessica Ennis-Hill is eyeing glory at the World Championships in Beijing
  • Olympic heptathlon champion says it would be among her greatest feats
  • Ennis-Hill reveals difficulty at being away from her son and husband Andy
  • Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Ennis-Hill's young rival, is aiming for gold
  • British pair face stern competition from Canada’s Brianne Thiesen-Eaton

By

Martha Kelner for The Mail on Sunday

Published:
22:33, 15 August 2015

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Updated:
22:43, 15 August 2015

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Jessica Ennis-Hill said it would be among her greatest feats if she can win a medal at the World Championships in Beijing, barely a year after giving birth to her first baby.

The Olympic heptathlon champion said she was focused on bringing back some hardware to prove the wrench of a long spell away from her one-year-old son – who has remained at home in Sheffield with husband Andy – has been worth it.

‘This is definitely my hardest challenge, being away from Reggie for this amount of time for the first time,’ said Ennis-Hill, who is at a training camp in Fukuoka, Japan, before travelling to China.

Jessica Ennis-Hill said it would be among her greatest feats if she can win a medal at World Championships

Jessica Ennis-Hill said it would be among her greatest feats if she can win a medal at World Championships

Ennis-Hill, who is at a training camp in Fukuoka, Japan, works on her javelin technique ahead of the event

Ennis-Hill, who is at a training camp in Fukuoka, Japan, works on her javelin technique ahead of the event

‘Andy is taking charge and doing an amazing job. I video call them online every day and Reggie’s happy and smiling, being a really good boy, which makes it easier for me being out here.

‘I’m trying to keep calm and focus on what I’ve got to do out here because I’m here for a reason. I’m away from him now so I want to make it worthwhile and a medal would be the ideal.’

While her gold medal in front of a home crowd at London 2012 is Ennis-Hill’s crowning glory, if she were to achieve even a bronze medal in arguably the most gruelling of athletics events, it would rank among the greatest comeback stories in World Championships history.

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Given her performance at the London Anniversary Games last month – where she set three seasons bests in the 100m hurdles, long jump and 200m – it is perfectly possible.

At a wind-bitten and rainy Manchester back in May, the current scenario was unimaginable to the 29-year-old, who had just finished third in the 100m hurdles at the Great City Games, her first race in almost two years.

‘I feel a very long way away from where I was then,’ she said. ‘I feel like I’ve made very good progress since then, I definitely couldn’t imagine being here at this stage.’

Jessica Ennis-Hill takes a breather during her British Athletics Training Camp session on Saturday 

Jessica Ennis-Hill takes a breather during her British Athletics Training Camp session on SaturdayÂÂ

The Olympic heptathlon champion talks to Mick Hill during a training camp session in Japan

The Olympic heptathlon champion talks to Mick Hill during a training camp session in Japan

Ennis-Hill’s heptathlon personal best, achieved at the London Olympics, is 6955 points, almost 150 points better than any other woman in the field in Beijing. ‘If Jess comes out in London 2012 form it’s game over for everyone,’ is how her young rival, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, sees it.

It is the unknown that adds spice to the battle for the medals in the heptathlon, which begins on Saturday with Ennis-Hill’s strongest event, the 100m hurdles. It ends on Sunday with the 800m, which is a tantalising prospect.

How much Ennis-Hill has improved over the last month is unknown, as is the form of Johnson-Thompson.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Ennis-Hill's young rival, believes she could secure glory in Beijing

Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Ennis-Hill's young rival, believes she could secure glory in Beijing

Ennis-Hill will be joined in the heptathlon by medal rival Katarina Johnson-Thompson (pictured)

Ennis-Hill will be joined in the heptathlon by medal rival Katarina Johnson-Thompson (pictured)

The 23-year-old was spectacular as she won pentathlon gold at the European Indoor Championships in Prague in March, breaking Ennis-Hill’s British record in the process. After that, she was installed as hot favourite for Beijing but has since suffered with a knee niggle. Her run-up to the World Championships in Moscow in 2013 was also disrupted by injury and she was unfit for the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

‘Maybe that’s why I’ve picked up the injuries so I can have my normal preparation,’ joked Johnson-Thompson. ‘If I was in the same shape as the indoors I think my chances of getting gold would have been quite high.

‘But given my preparation in the past three months I have tried to put my expectations down a bit lower. It still doesn’t mean I am not going to try for gold – that’s what I have wanted from the start of the year so that’s what I am going to aim to get.’

The British pair also face stern competition from Canada’s Brianne Thiesen-Eaton, who has recorded the best heptathlon score of the year.

Johnson-Thompson has a word with Tony Minichiello, who coached Ennis-Hill to London 2012 glory

Johnson-Thompson has a word with Tony Minichiello, who coached Ennis-Hill to London 2012 glory

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