JESSICA ENNIS says she’s fit and ready to lead a Great Britain gold rush in the European Championship, starting today.
The 24-year-old world heptathlon champion arrives in Barcelona as one of Britain’s best medal hopes after recovering from an ear infection.
Ennis has been made captain of a British team looking to achieve a record European showing and surpass their previous best medal haul of 18 set in Split 20 years ago.
And the glamour girl of British athletics is backing this current crop to banish the
memories of a disappointing campaign in Gothenburg four years ago and meet UK
Sport’s medal target of 15. “Everyone’s been looking in great shape at the track in the holding camp in Portugal, and from what I’ve seen we’re going to do pretty well,” she said.
“We had a team meeting and I did a speech talking about making the most of opportunities. There’s a good atmosphere in the camp, and we’re ready to win some gold medals.”
Ennis herself has been given the go-ahead to run after recovering from an infection of the inner ear earlier this month, which left her so dizzy she was unable to train.
“In Gateshead a fortnight ago I still didn’t quite feel myself,” she explained. “I still felt
sluggish. But out here in my sessions I feel completely different. I’ve got some good
training in. I feel like I’ve done some good stuff out here, some good times, so I’m
feeling much better than I did a few weeks ago.
“You can feel it when you’re in good shape. My training has felt easier, and it flows a lot better. I feel like I’ve caught up on what I missed.”
Ennis is Britain’s best hope for gold, but head coach Charles van Commenee is holding out hopes for several more of his athletes to reach the top of the podium this week.
Welshman Dai Greene has clocked the five fastest times by a European in the 400m hurdles this summer, while Mo Farah is fancied by many for a long-distance double in the 5,000m and 10,000m.
British 800m champion Michael Rimmer, 400m man Martin Rooney and Andy Baddeley (1,500m) also have outside shots of gold, while sprinter Dwain Chambers, competing in his fourth European Championships, will be looking to replace the gold he lost in 2002 after his admission of doping.