• London 2012 - Athletics

Determined Ennis holds lead after first day

ESPN staff
August 3, 2012

Jessica Ennis will take a healthy lead into the second day of the heptathlon after a remarkable evening performance at the Olympic Stadium on Friday.

Medal Table

Ennis came into the final two events of the opening day's action with the lead after a stunning morning performance, before briefly losing the lead following the completion of the shot put. But a blistering run of 22.83 seconds in the 200 metres catapulted her back up to the top of the standings, with 4158 points after the first day.

"I'm so tired but it was a great race today," Ennis said after finishing the 200m. "I'm still in shock about the hurdles [where she set a personal best].

"Overall a bit up and down - slightly disappointed with the high jump and shot put but two personal bests so I'm happy."

Ennis holds a 184-point lead over her nearest challenger, Austra Skujyte, with three events remaining. Canada's Jessica Zelinka is currently in third, while reigning world champion Tatyana Chernova and close rival Natallia Dobrynska lurking down in ninth and tenth respectively.

"I'm going to have to have a really strong day tomorrow and make sure the performances are what I need them to be," Ennis said. "The crowd really do lift you, it makes a huge difference."

The 200m was the perfect finish for Ennis, after the shot put had seen her lose her advantage after Skujyte recorded a distance of over 17 metres to dwarf anyone else in the field. Ennis ultimately managed a competent effort of 14.28m to keep her score ticking over.

Current heptathlon standings

  • Jessica Ennis (GBR) - 4158 pts
  • Austra Skuyte (LIT) - 3974
  • Lyudmyla Yosypenko (UKR) - 3902
  • Hyleas Fountain (USA) - 3900

A devastating high jump performance has left Ennis' Team GB team-mate Louise Hazel down in 36th with three events to go, while youngster Katarina Johnson-Thompson sits 20th overall after a fine 200m

"I'm just so happy to be part of this competition alongside her [Ennis]," Johnson-Thompson said. "I'm loving every second of it."

Elsewhere, the first track and field gold medal went to Poland's Tomasz Majewski, as he defended the shot put title he won in Beijing four years ago.

The likes of young Germand David Storl and powerful American Reese Hoffa were expected to contend for gold after strong qualifying performances, but Majewski produced when it mattered with an unmatched effort of 21.89m.

Storl eventually finished second, an agonising three centimetres short of his rival, with Hoffa third with 21.23m.

Britain's representative in the discipline, Carl Myerscough, failed to qualify for the final after a shocking performance in the morning heats.

Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba then blew away the field over the final 600m to win the women's 10,000m - with British duo Jo Pavey and Julia Bleasdale finishing a respectable seventh and eighth respectively.

There was more good news for Team GB, as both Greg Rutherford and Chris Tomlinson qualified for the final of the long jump with ease.

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