• London 2012 - Athletics

Ennis on brink of heptathlon gold

ESPN staff
August 4, 2012 « Dzeko won't accept City bench role | Chartbeat test »
Jessica Ennis soars out in the long jump in the heptathlon © PA Photos
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Jessica Ennis is just 800 metres from Olympic gold after cementing her position in first in the heptathlon with a brilliant long jump and javelin.

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Ennis went into the second day with a lead 184 points over her nearest challenger Austra Skujyte and she extended that in the morning's two events.

She sailed out to 6.48m in the long jump, which was just three centimetres below her personal best, and that was a notable effort given her struggles with her technique going into the event.

With defending champion Nataliya Dobrynska blowing her chances with two no-jumps and a paltry 3.70m, Ennis' effort reinforced her position in first. Skujte remained in second after the long jump on 4901 with world champion Tatyana Chernova in third on 4869.

The javelin is Ennis' weakest event but she eased the nerves with an opening throw of 46.61m. And with that under her belt, she steped up and launched it out to a lifetime best of 47.49.

With Chernova only producing 46.26 and Skujte 51.13, Ennis holds a 188-point lead thanks to her score of 5971 points with just the 800m left to go. And with Ennis being a stronger runner on paper than her nearest rivals, she has gold within her grasp.

Helen Jenkins missed out on a medal in the triathlon, with the British No.1 falling off the pace late on to claim fifth. Following a steady swim, Jenkins made ground on the bike to get in amongst the leaders and looked well set to strike as the field set out on the run.

She found herself in a five-woman breakaway group, but as the pace was ramped up on the final lap Jenkins fell away and had to settle for fifth. There was a stunning finish as at the end of two hours of punishment, Nicola Spirig of Switzerlad and Sweden's Lisa Norden produced a thrilling sprint and crossed the line in the same time of 1:59.48 - with Spirig getting the gold and Norden the silver.

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