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ENNIS AIMING TO BE EUROPE’S NUMBER ONE

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Jess Ennis

10 June 2010

World Champion Jessica Ennis is hoping that a double-domestic outing at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships in Birmingham and the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead will help her final preparations for an  assault on European Championship gold at the end of July. 

Ennis is currently the number one ranked high jumper, long jumper and sprint hurdler in the UK, which bodes well for her appearance at the Alexander Stadium, June 25-27. The 2009 World Champion will contest in the 100m hurdles, high jump, long jump and shot put.

The City of Sheffield athlete is in superlative form this year, having won the World Indoor Championships in Doha in March, and most recently the heptathlon at the Gotzis Hypo-Meeting in Austria, further enhancing her position as the world’s number one all round athlete. 

Ennis said: “My season has got off to a great start and despite the terrible rainy conditions in Gotzis I felt really good. I know given good conditions in Barcelona I can improve my personal best for the heptathlon.

I am going into the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships in really good shape and will use them as a test event and final preparation before the European Championships, there will be a strong domestic field of girls to compete against in the long jump, hurdles and high jump. I am really looking forward to getting out there and competing in front of the Birmingham crowd.

“2009 was such a fantastic year for me which does add some pressure to ensure that I continue to compete at my best, but all has gone well for me so far this year and I’m doing everything in my power to make sure it stays that way.”

The Aviva British Grand Prix on July 10 also presents Ennis with one final opportunity to fine-tune her individual disciplines, this time the javelin and 200m, and she hopes she will be in peak condition by the time she arrives at the Gateshead International Stadium.

Ennis said: “Last year I arrived at the Aviva British Grand Prix having won gold at the World Championships, this time I hope the event acts as a platform for success at the Europeans.  Decent performances will be a great send-off for me ahead of Barcelona.

“The 200m is one of my favourite events and there will undoubtedly be some very talented girls in the field. I usually have to run it after having hurdled, high jumped and thrown the shot so my legs are pretty heavy – so coming into the race fresh will be great – my personal goal would be to break the 23 sec barrier and given the competition and hopefully a sunny Gateshead day I could well do it!”

The 24-year-old finished eighth at the 2006 European Championships in Gothenburg, which was won by Sweden’s Carolina Kluft.  Kluft has since turned her focus towards the long jump but remains confident that Ennis will go on to break the European record that she set in Osaka three years ago.

The former Olympic, World and European champion said: “For Jessica it’s just so great to see her compete and I knew she was going to do great because you could already see a few years ago that she’d got that mental strength and physique.

“She’s going to get even better, she has much more to go. I am sure that she will break my European record in the future, absolutely. I don’t know (if it will be this year), it’s still hard to get all the events all together in one competition but if she can do that she can break it any time.”

Kluft returned to the field at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Oslo last week, following several months of being sidelined through injury.  Given her absence from competition in 2009 she was sad to hear that her former fellow heptathlete Kelly Sotherton has been ruled out of action this season.

She said: “I’m very sorry about Kelly, these injuries are the worst for us to go through.

“I’ve been competing every summer since started athletics as a kid. So 2009 was the first summer that I didn’t compete so for me now to be back on the track is really great. I’m going to have fun and do my best and hopefully the results will get better and better.

“The Aviva London Grand Prix is in August and hopefully I will be able to compete there if the season works out well. I’m happy to be back, even if the result isn’t good, I’m happy to be back. I need to be patient with the result and take one competition at a time.”

To get hold of tickets to see Jessica Ennis at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, on June 25-27 or the Aviva British Grand Prix at the Gateshead International Stadium July 10 by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.uka.org.uk