Jessica Ennis-Hill’s hopes of returning to the heptathlon next week – in what would be her first multi-event competition since winning gold at London 2012 – are in the balance after the latest stage of her comeback offered more questions than answers.
Ennis-Hill was satisfied after leaping 6.16m to finish third in the long jump and throwing 43.88m to be sixth in the javelin at the Loughborough International meeting on Sunday. But afterwards she revealed her training had been interrupted by achilles injuries in both legs and that she would make a decision over whether to enter the prestigious Hypo meeting in Gotzis, Austria, on 30-31 May within the next 48 hours.
“I’m reasonably happy,” she said, despite her performances in both events being, understandably, well below her personal bests. “I thought I would struggle to jump six metres because of the training and what I’ve been able to put together is not great. But it’s a start and I’m finding my way and I’m happy to get out and compete and get rid of that rustiness. So I don’t think I can be too disappointed.”
Ennis-Hill is frustrated by the injuries that have plagued her since her comeback after the birth of her son, Reggie, last year. “The hardest thing has been injuries,” she said. “I absolutely hate my achilles. I always knew it would be hard coming back after having Reggie but the hardest thing has been the injuries and wanting to do the training but being held back.
“It’s something that can be managed. It’s not a disastrous injury. It’s been a little bit up and down through the week and I’ve just not been able to get the full amount of training I wanted to do but just coming here and doing two events is a really good sign.”
Ennis-Hill planned to see how her achilles was overnight before discussing whether to compete in Gotzis with her coach, Toni Minichiello. A decision is likely to be announced on Tuesday but Ennis-Hill said she would not return to the heptathlon if she did not think she could achieve the 6,200 points she needs to make the qualifying standard for the Rio Olympics.
“It’s a hard one because my aim is to get the qualifying for the Olympics this year and get that under my belt,” she said. “Then I can start moving forwards. If I can go out there and do that, then great. But I don’t want to go and have to pull out. The aim for the year is to qualify for Rio so, if I feel I’m ready, then I’ll do that. But if I’m not going to get the qualifying mark, then there’s no way I’ll do it.”
Whatever happens, though, Ennis-Hill says she is still planning to compete at the world championships in Beijing in August.
“It’s definitely on the agenda,” she said. “I’m not ruling it out but I’m just seeing how the next few weeks go. If I do Gotzis, then I’ll see how that goes.”
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