• World Athletics Championships

Ennis forced to settle for silver

ESPN staff
August 30, 2011 « Pacquiao won't underestimate Marquez | Chartbeat test »

Jessica Ennis was unable to defend her world heptathlon title after failing to overhaul a 133-point deficit in the 800m at the World Athletics Championships in South Korea.

A disappointing javelin performance left Ennis needing to beat rival Tatyana Chernova by nine seconds in the final discipline, but despite crossing the line before the Russian, Ennis had left herself with too much to do.

Ennis finished with 6751 points, 129 adrift of Chernova. The Briton's score was 20 more than the total that secured her the gold medal two years ago in Berlin.

Ennis was in the gold medal position coming into the second day of competition, but Chernova closed the gap in the long jump before establishing a comfortable lead after a superior javelin effort.

While Chernova produced a season's best of 52.95m, Ennis's best effort of 39.95m was some way short of her lifetime best.

"If I'm honest, yes of course [I'm disappointed]. I came here to win a gold medal," Ennis told Channel 4. "It started off poor and I really got it together and unfortunately the javelin was a real disaster for me.

"But it's still a silver medal, it's still a World Championships and if I had to do it anywhere it is here - it's next year I want the gold. I knew it was going to be very difficult [to catch Chernova], so I was realistic but I had to give it everything, I couldn't go half-heartedly, I needed to run as hard as I could - I couldn't leave anything on the track and that's what I did and it got me a silver medal."

UK head coach Charles van Commenee has set the British team a target of seven medals, including one gold, in Daegu, and with Mo Farah and Ennis both forced to settle for silver, Dai Greene remains a hope for gold after easing into the final of the men's 400m hurdles.

Having fired a real statement of intent in the qualifying, Greene looks to be in impressive form after cruising to victory in his semi-final in a time of 48.62, beating former Olympic champion Felix Sanchez into second.

Rivals Bershawn Jackson and Louis van Zyl also progressed, but defending champion Kerron Clement failed to qualify after finishing last in Greene's semi-final. Greene's team-mates Jack Green and Nathan Woodward missed out on a place in the final after finishing fifth and sixth in their respective races.

Perri Shakes-Drayton was an outside hope for a medal in Daegu, but the European bronze medallist missed out on the final of the 400m hurdles by just 0.01 seconds. Eilidh Child also failed to progress past the semi-finals after finishing sixth in her semi-final.

There was a shock in the men's 400m final as Olympic and reigning champion LaShawn Merritt was pipped to gold after a late charge from Grenadian teenager Kirani James, who produced a lifetime best performance of 44.60 seconds to deny the American. Belgium's Kevin Borlee took bronze.

In the women's 3000m steeplechase Barbara Parker finished 14th in a race won by Russia's Yuliya Zaripova, while Hannah England snuck into the 1500m final as a fastest loser after finishing sixth in her semi-final.

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