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ennis hangs onto lead

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Jessica Ennis
Ennis has to perform well in the Javelin later today to hold onto her lead

31 July 2010

Jessica Ennis (Toni Minichello) began day two of the heptathlon with a 110 point lead over Ukrainian Natalyia Dobrynska, the first event up the long jump. Her first jump of 6.28m was soon bettered by a 6.41m and a 6.43m to take third place in the event with 985 points. Dobrynska was second with 6.56, whilst Jennifer Oeser (GER) set a new personal best of 6.68 to claim 1066 points.

That result leaves Ennis still top of the standings with 5065 points, but Dobrynska closed the gap with just 68 points separating the two. Oeser lies in third place on 4907 with the javelin and 800m to come in this evening’s session.  

Ennis was generally pleased with this morning’s efforts: “That was good, I’m pleased with the distance. I could have quite easily have lost points there because they are big jumpers so I’m satisfied with that to have maintained the lead.

“It’s definitely going to be night, Dobrynska’s right there and Oeser had a great long jump so it’s not going to be easy to do so I’ve got to give it absolutely everything in the javelin and 800m and lets see what happens.

“I think in Berlin I was quite a few points ahead so this is a different challenge. I don’t expect every heptathlon to be like the one in Berlin, although I wish it could be! It’s always going to be difficult and people are going to push you and it’s another different type of experience really and I hope I can come out on top.”

Leon Baptiste ( Michael Khmel), Craig Pickering (Malcolm Arnold), Marlon Devonish (Tony Lester) and Mark Lewis Francis (Linford Christie), were first in action for the Aviva GB & NI team on the track on the penultimate day of action at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona in heat one of the men’s 4 x 100m.

Less than 48 hours after clinching European Silver in the individual 100m, Lewis Francis found himself apologising to the other three members of the team after they finished in fifth place and failed to qualify: “I'm more devastated for my teammates than anything. They have worked so hard for this and I have messed it up for them. I am so so sorry.

“I can't really break it down. I can't tell you how I messed up but I messed up.”

Devonish was more philosophical: “Mark did not do this intentionally. Unfortunately these things happen and whatever happened was a mess. If we were in the final we had every chance of winning.

“Our changeover was really really bad. I thought on the turn I didn't feel anyone around me and we were a clear first. But I ran into Mark the change over was messy and gave everyone else a chance

“Our changeovers when we get it right are second to none. Today we didn't get it right. I'm bitterly disappointed just gutted.”

Swiftly following their male colleagues came the 4 x 100m women  Joice Maduaka (Loren Seagrave), Montell Douglas (Ayo Falola), Hayley Jones () and Laura Turner (Linford Christie). Poor changeovers ensued and the women came in sixth suffering the same fate as the men and not progressing.

Maduaka, running the first leg said: “It’s about putting the race together, we did the work and we had to get it round and get it round quick and there were just too many mistakes out there today. I had to shout slow down, Montell was gone which stopped her momentum, which meant she didn’t have the momentum going into Hayley, she shouted stop slow down to Hayley. There was lots of stop starting. We need to go back and look at the video and see what has happened.

In the men’s 4 x 400m it was a much more impressive story, Conrad Williams (Linford Christie), Graham Hedman (Nick Dakin), Richard Buck (Michael Khmel) and Rob Tobin (Todd Bennett), who was defying a calf injury to run made light work of their progression with victory in heat one.

Williams though not getting carried away : “Waking up early and coming out here we just had to qualify. It should be an easy qualification for us, top three. But we still have to go out there and demonstrate that we’re one of the top teams in Europe and we had to put a statement out there to everyone saying if you’re going to beat us you’re going to have to go out there and run fast.”

Graham Hedman happy to be playing his part: “I got out well, but the two other boys went past me, I knew what I was doing so I sat on their shoulders and attacked and gave it to Rich in first place. This is a team effort, we’ve all gone out there and done our jobs today. “

Rob Tobin, who was carrying a calf injury said: “Surprisingly when I’m running quick is better than when I’m running slowly, the injury bothers me less. Also these guys did a fabulous job which means I can take it easy on the last leg.”

The women’s 4 x 400m also progressed smoothly to the final, with Nicola Sanders (Tony Lester), Victoria Barr (Ayo Falola), Marilyn Okoro (Ayo Falola) and Lee McConnell (Roger Harkins) coming second to Russia with Okoro eager to join the Aviva GB Team party: “We want to join that bandwagon, the team are collecting so many medals and we want to be part of that. We’re definitely in for a shout there. We’re just going to go out there and battle and get in the mix like we were today. A medal please.”

There’s another scintillating night of action ahead in the Olympic Stadium, with British athletes in the final of the men’s shot, men’s 400h, men’s 5,000m and the conclusion of the heptathlon. Not miss a minute with coverage starting live on BBC 2 from 1745.