Jessica Ennis-Hill hits her stride as preparations for Rio gather pace

Olympic Gold Jessica Ennis Womens Sport

Jessica Ennis-Hill believes she is fitter now than at any time since winning heptathlon gold at London 2012 and she showed her Olympic defence is on track by scoring an impressive 6,733 points to win the IAAF Combined Events Challenge in Ratingen, Germany.

Not only was the tally 64 points higher than her score of 6,669 to win the world championships in Beijing last year but Ennis-Hill was also able to set a personal best of 6.63m in the long jump.

The 30-year-old followed up with 44.37m in the javelin and 2:11.36 in the 800m, which was delayed after a torrential downpour, to win by 257 points from the German Caroline Schäfer.

The former Olympic champion Denise Lewis said Ennis-Hill’s performances in Germany made her the favourite for Rio in August, where she will face her fellow Briton Katarina Johnson-Thompson and the runner-up in Beijing last year, Brianne Theisen-Eaton. “At the Olympics, you have to navigate seven events and the heptathlon is not easy,” she said. “But she is definitely the favourite for me.”

“Almost inevitably athletes don’t pick the right decisions – but with Jess, she always makes the right decisions. She competes when she is ready, and the performances she has produced are testament to the decisions she does make.

“The most impressive thing was the long jump, which has been so temperamental over the last few years. It bodes well for the future.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Sean Ingle, for The Guardian on Sunday 26th June 2016 18.00 Europe/London

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