Yesterday I looked at Denise Lewis, the most successful female British heptathlete todate. Today’s sketch looks at the woman who has been tipped as successor to her crown, Jessica Ennis. Jessica has trained at the Don Valley stadium in Sheffield, her home town. Much credit should go to Sheffield’s Council for their forethought in supporting the stadium.
The Don Valley stadium was built for the World Student Games. When accessing legacy for sports stadia, no-one can factor in the role infrastructure plays in producing future champions. However, having a word class facility has assisted Jessica’s development. One of the things which excites me most about the new Olympic stadia is all the future champions it will inspire and hopefully enable.
Jessica Ennis was unable to compete in the Beijing Olympics due to an injury that was potentially career ending. Since returning in 2009 though she has won two World Championships in a row and a European Championship. Jessica has set her sights on the Gold Medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
Jessica’s career in athletics began in 2000, progressing through the junior and youth competitions, showing a promising talent for the future. She then went on to do a degree in Psychology from The University of Sheffield, before becoming a professional athlete.
In 2006 she enjoyed her first season as a senior athlete and managed to secure her first ever medal. It was a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and it marked the arrival of a new star on the British team where she now ranks as one of Britain’s best ever heptathletes.
In May 2007 Jessica equalled the 25 year old British High Jump record for women by jumping 1.95m. She also broke Denise Lewis’ British under-23 record for the heptathlon by scoring 6388 at the IAAF Combined Events Challenge in Dezenzano, Italy. In doing so reached the qualifying standard for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
Since then Jessica set a new personal best clocking up 6469 points at the IAAF World Championships held in Osaka, Japan before suffering a cruel injury just before the 2008 Olympics.
Jessica made her heptathlon comeback at the 2009 IAAF Combined Events Challenge in Dezenzano (a favourite venue!), Italy setting another personal best of 6587 to win the event. Her gold medal in Berlin at the IAAF World Championships resulted in a points score of 6731 and a new World Champion was crowned.
More success quickly followed in 2010 when she dominated the indoor season to win the World Indoor Pentathlon title, this time inDoha. The European heptathlon GOLD medal followed, and together with a new PB score of 6823 capped a truly remarkable year.
I think I speak for every British person when I wish Jessica the best of luck for the up-coming Olympics. Given her track record, I’m sure that she will be fantastic. To have so valiantly come back from what must have been a horrible injury and to win so many medals is quite an achievement already. I hope that she’ll be adding to those medals with a gold one in seven months time.