• Athletics

No Ennis fears for Van Commenee

ESPN staff
February 21, 2011
Injury to Mark Lewis-Francis was a blow to UK Athletics chief Charles van Commenee © PA Photos

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee has dismissed fears Jessica Ennis could miss the forthcoming European Indoor Championships in Paris, despite the heptathlete skipping last weekend's Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham due to a troublesome left ankle.

Ennis had pulled out of the previous weekend's Indoor Trials in Sheffield as a precautionary measure, but Van Commenee is confident the 25-year-old will be fit and ready to go in Paris at the start of March.

"The likelihood that she's going to compete is much higher than that she's not going to compete," Van Commenee. "She will be selected and we'll see later what happens."

Ennis is perhaps the least of the Dutchman's injury concerns, after sprinters Mark Lewis-Francis and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey both pulled up in the men's 60 metres.

"We will have to see about Harry in the next few days but Mark is out. There is no discussion," Van Commenee said, also acknowledging he had tempted fate by previously suggesting many of his athletes had avoided injuries.

"I did. I tried to say that we were on top of things and then some freak accidents happened in the last week with [cross-country runner] Steph Twell, [pole vaulter] Steve Lewis and Mark Lewis-Francis," he said.

"These are things you can't control and prevent from happening, someone breaking a pole, that course where Steph went, it happens. Better now than in 2012. But overall I'm very pleased with Saturday. It started off a bit depressing with two major injuries and certainly when it comes to Paris I had high hopes for Mark Lewis-Francis.

"But when I look back at the whole day there were very positive things and not only the less well known athletes. Jenny Meadows [800m], Mo Farah [5,000m] and Phillips Idowu [triple jump], I wouldn't put those in that category and there were outstanding performances there.

"I was very pleased also with Nigel Levine and the other 400m athletes. It's quite promising for the 4x400m in Paris, although the opposition there is very strong. Helen Clitheroe [3,000m] and Lawrence Clarke [60m hurdles] ran PBs so altogether we've had many days in British history not as good as Saturday."

It was revealed at the weekend that Farah had opted to change coaches and training locations in the build-up to the Olympic Games, but Van Commenee believes the switch - even at this late stage - will not cause any problems.

"Mo couldn't be in a better place," Van Commenee, who will announce the Great Britain squad for the European Indoors on Tuesday, added. "I'm sure to some it's coming out of the blue, but in reality it doesn't because Mo has done bits and pieces for a long time with [new coach] Alberto [Salazar]. It's been a smooth transition."

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