• Athletics

Ennis hits back at critics with strong start

ESPN staff
May 26, 2012

Jessica Ennis will take a 221-point lead into the second day of the heptathlon at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis, after a mixed bag of results on Saturday.

The 26-year-old, looking to hit back after being accused of being 'fat' earlier in the week, looked strong in the 100-metre hurdles to start the day but disappointed in the high jump, before a personal best in the 200m to end the day ensured a healthy advantage over her nearest challenger, Lithuania's Austra Skujyte.

Ennis, winner of the event in Austria the last two years, began by running 12.81 seconds in the hurdles - just 0.02s outside her personal best - to open up an immediate 99-point lead. A under-par high jump mark of 1.85m saw her lose some of that momentum, however, before a shot put best of 14.51m (not far off her personal best) nevertheless saw Skujyte snatch the lead.

That did not last long, however, as Ennis set a new personal best of 22.88s in the 200m to claim the advantage back and create the possibility of setting a new personal best on Sunday.

"It was a good hurdles, fastest I've run in a heptathlon so I was pleased with that, but just so disappointed with my high jump," Ennis said midway through the day.

"It should be way better than that so it's frustrating. Dobrynska and Chernova didn't jump too well either so there is a little positive to take from it, but I'm still disappointed.

"It just didn't happen. The headwind wasn't great, but I can't blame it on that really."

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