• Athletics

Ennis smashes Lewis's British heptathlon record

ESPN staff
May 27, 2012 « Donald returns to No. 1 after Wentworth repeat | Chartbeat test »

Jessica Ennis broke Denise Lewis's 12-year old British heptathlon record after an impressive performance on Sunday at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis.

Ennis, in the same week she was accused of being 'fat' by a high-ranking British athletics official, came into the second day of the meeting in Austria with high hopes of beating Lewis's national record of 6831 points - and managed to do so with some ease, eventually recording a total of 6906 points.

That mark put the 26-year-old eighth on the all-time list in the event, while it could also prove a good omen for her chances at London 2012 - Lewis having set her personal best mark just weeks before she went on to claim gold at the Olympics in Sydney in 2000.

It was a remarkable second day performance from Ennis, who has seen one or more of the disciplines cost her dear in major events in recent years. She got the day off to the perfect start by equalling her personal best in the long jump with a leap of 6.51 metres - just the boost she needed before heading to perhaps her worst event.

The javelin cost her a gold medal at last year's World Championships in Daegu but on Sunday there was no repeat, the Sheffield native smashing her personal best by 40 centimetres with a throw of 47.11m in the first round.

Subsequent throws of 44.32m and 44.66 suggested Ennis has discovered an element of consistency in the discipline, but it was nevertheless her opening throw that left her needing just a mediocre run in the 800m to break Lewis's record.

A time of two minutes 14 seconds was the barrier Ennis needed to break but, with her personal best nearer two minutes seven seconds, Ennis cruised from the front throughout to eventually stop the clock at two minutes nine seconds exactly - confirming she would break Lewis's mark by a full 75 points.

"I knew I was capable of doing it. It was just a case of putting it together on the day," Ennis said. It's something that's been at the back of my mind and I wanted to achieve, but I didn't want to put too much pressure on it.

"I brought the long jump back and proved my javelin's in a better state. I'm over the moon."

World champion Tatyana Chernova finished 132 points adrift of the Brit in second while Nataliya Dobrynska - the Olympic champion - finished a distant ninth, although the Ukrainian's preparations have understandably been ravaged by the recent death of her husband, who was also her coach.

Ennis will not compete another full heptathlon before the London Olympics, where she will now be a heavy favourite for gold despite only managing silver at last year's World Championships in Daegu. Ennis says the disappointment of losing her world title made her more determined than ever to improve.

"I've learned from those times," she said. "I learned what I need to do in the long jump, what I needed to do in the javelin and I've been able to rectify those events. It's been a bit of a learning curve, which is good."

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