• London Olympics 2012

Lewis: Ennis can go even higher

ESPN staff
May 28, 2012

Jessica Ennis is knocking on the door of breaking the 7000-point barrier in the heptathlon, according to former Olympic gold medalist Denise Lewis.

Ennis broke Lewis' British heptathlon record in Austria on Sunday on her way to victory, racking up a total of 6906 to cruise past the previous mark of 6831.

Ennis' performance threw down the gauntlet to rivals Tatyana Chernova and Natalya Dobrynska ahead of London 2012, where the Brit will carry expectation of delivering gold for her home support.

However, Lewis has warned that despite Ennis' achievements, gold is far from a foregone conclusion in a few months' time.

"Had she come away with a score in the high 6700s or low 6800s, her opponents would have still been able to feel some confidence - but 6900 is different," Lewis said in the Telegraph. "It is beyond Tatyana Chernova's best and Natalya Dobrynska can only dream about it.

"Psychologically, it must wound them but this was not just about firing a warning to her fellow contenders. Just as important, it was about winning the internal battle of confidence with herself after her two major championship defeats in Daegu and Istanbul.

"This is no guarantee of Olympic gold. Gotzis is not London and Chernova won't lie down. She got hammered by Jess at Gotzis last year and responded powerfully to win the World Championships but she must now fear that Jess still has more improvement to come.

"Jess can run quicker still in the hurdles. She doesn't need to go faster than Saturday's remarkable 20.88sec run in the 200m but still might. We already know that, at the death, she can run a quicker 800m if needed - she was well outside her best here - and she's a 1.95m high jumper who cleared 10cm less in Gotzis, which represents a difference of over 100 points.

"So, now it really does not feel completely fanciful that she could be knocking on the door of 7000 points, which only three women in the history of the sport have managed: Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Carolina Kluft and Larisa Turchinskaya."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.