Ennis-Hill books Rio title defence on full comeback

Ross McLean
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Ennis-Hill secured 6,520 qualifying points
BRITAIN’S Jessica Ennis-Hill was thrilled to achieve the qualifying standard for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro during her first competitive heptathlon since London 2012 at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis yesterday.

The 29-year-old Olympic champion finished fourth to secure 6,520 points, 320 more than the tally needed, which also gives her the option of competing at this summer’s World Championships in Beijing.

Ennis-Hill took time off from the sport following the birth of her first son last year and has also had to contend with an achilles injury, but was elated to hit the necessary benchmark in order to defend her Olympic title in Brazil.

“If someone had said ‘65’ [6,500] points, I would have grabbed that with two hands, I’m really happy to score that. I am made up,” said Ennis-Hill. “I am really, really pleased.”

Ennis-Hill finished 11 points off third place after a rip-roaring conclusion to her comeback, leading from the start in the 800m to pip overall heptathlon winner and Commonwealth champion Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada in a time of 2:09.21.

While her time over two laps was 1.4 seconds shy of her personal best 2:07.81, Ennis-Hill admitted the 800m provided an unknown quantity on her return, but insisted her will to win remains undimmed.

“I didn’t quite know what would happen in the 800m but as soon as I heard the gun and ran the first lap I felt comfortable and tried to maintain the speed,” added Ennis-Hill. “I’ve still got that competitive edge and I have still got drive to compete even when I am not on to win or get a PB.”

Despite her performance in Gotzis confirming qualification for the World Championships in August, Ennis-Hill is non-committal on whether she will compete.

“If I am a medal contender I will go and if I can get the work done,” she said. “I don’t want to go to the world champs underprepared.”

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