Jessica Ennis-Hill completes golden comeback in Beijing

29-year-old wins World Championships heptathlon 13 months after birth of son

Jessica Ennis-Hill won the gold medal in the World Championships heptathlon in Beijing 13 months after the birth of her son. Photograph: Getty

Jessica Ennis-Hill won the gold medal in the World Championships heptathlon in Beijing 13 months after the birth of her son. Photograph: Getty

 

Jessica Ennis-Hill has completed her golden comeback at the World Championships, winning her first major championship since London 2012 just 13 months after the birth of her son.

It was still unclear just four weeks ago whether the Olympic heptathlon champion would compete in Beijing, having only returned to action in May following the arrival of Reggie last summer.

However, a promising performance at the Anniversary Games saw Ennis-Hill put herself forward for selection — a decision she justified in some style at the Bird’s Nest.

The 29-year-old edged a fascinating battle with compatriot Katarina Johnson-Thompson on Saturday to take the overnight lead, which she pushed on from with solid displays in the long jump and javelin.

It put Ennis-Hill on the cusp of gold — an opportunity she did not let slip, winning her 800 metres heat in 2 minutes 10.13 seconds to add another world crown to the one she won in Berlin six years ago.

It saw her end the event on 6,669 points — 115 ahead of Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton, with Laura Ikauniece-Admidina of Latvia taking the bronze.

Had it not been for an agonising start to the day, Johnson-Thompson would have likely replaced one of the latter duo on the podium.

There even appeared a chance that she could topple Ennis-Hill, only to fail to score any points in the long jump — an event she will compete in at the Bird’s Nest later this week.

Johnson-Thompson will approach that understandably downbeat, having failed to record a distance on Sunday morning with the third red flag particularly exasperating.

It would have been the event’s biggest distance was it not chalked off, with officials deeming the 22-year-old to have left the slightest imprint on the plasticine.

After several minutes of discussions, and despite her remonstrations, it was ruled an illegal effort — a decision British Athletics appealed, only to later withdraw it after accepting it was a foul.

It left Johnson-Thompson visibly shell-shocked yet she continued in the javelin and 800m — although she had no choice under IAAF guidelines, with British Athletics confirming there would have be a medical reason to withdraw and medical confirmation she could compete again in the long jump.

That harsh rule was brought into sharp focus at the end of a galling day as the Liverpool athlete ambled home last in her 800m heat, with her time of in 2 mins 50.73 secs — 43.09s outside her personal best.

“Right before my first throw, I saw (British Athletes performance director) Neil Black come down to my coach,” an emotional Johnson-Thompson told the BBC about the appeal.

“I had to know. I couldn’t compete without knowing. I just went over and said ‘what’s the deal?’ I was a bit deflated at that point to say the least.

“This is the last place I wanted to be right now.

“I had to compete the 800m if I wanted to go to the long jump. That’s not my fitness (behind that slow time). I want to save my legs.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.