Clinical Ennis wins European heptathlon crown
An ice cool Jessica Ennis added the European heptathlon crown to her world title on Saturday when she held off a spirited challenge from Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska to win by 45 points.
London: An ice cool Jessica Ennis added the European heptathlon crown to her world title on Saturday when she held off a spirited challenge from Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska to win by 45 points.
Just 18 points ahead before the 800 metres, Ennis kicked into the final bend at a noisy Olympic Stadium and powered away from the tiring Ukrainian to win gold with a total of 6,823 points, breaking Swede Carolina Kluft`s championship record.
After catching her breath, the Sheffield-born 24-year-old broke into her trademark smile, embraced the much-taller Dobrynska and embarked on a lap of honour around the pale blue track with the rest of the competitors.
"I was so glad to win, especially with the 800 at the end and the way that I won it, which was mainly to prove that I am the world number one," said Ennis, who missed the 2008 Olympics in Beijing with a foot injury.
"Now I will compete in some individual events and then finally go on holiday," she added.
The overwhelming favourite coming into the seven-discipline event in the Catalan capital, Ennis led from the start, producing the top performances in Friday`s 100 metres hurdles and high jump.
The powerful Dobrynska, whose final tally of 6,778 was a personal best, trimmed the deficit to 11 with 15.88 metres in the shot put, but Ennis retained the lead after heaving the ball out to 14.05 on her final throw.
After the Ukrainian set a personal best of 24.23 in her 200 metres, Ennis raced to victory in the next heat in 23.21 for her third win of the day and a new championship best tally.
On Saturday, her overnight lead was cut from 110 to 68 after a long jump competition in which Dobrynska, jumping in a different group to the Briton, piled on the pressure with a season`s best 6.56 on her second effort.
Ennis responded and cut her potential points loss with 6.43 on her final leap.
In the javelin, the battle for gold brought out the best in both athletes. Ennis threw a personal best of 46.71 on her first attempt only for Dobrynska to reply with one of her own, 49.25, further eating away at the Briton`s lead.
But when the Ukrainian attacked down the back straight in the 800, Ennis responded superbly and as she pulled emphatically away the large, Union Jack-waving British contingent among the 38,000 crowd roared their delight.
"It was really tight," Ennis, who will now turn her thoughts to the 2012 Olympics in London, told reporters deep inside the arena. "Anything could have happened. I could have walked away with another type of medal or no medal at all."
Asked whether she could dominate the event in the same way triple world and 2004 Olympic champion Kluft did, she added:
"It would be lovely but I`m aware the event changes all the time. I`ve seen over the last couple of days how well the girls can perform and how well they can just switch it on."
"I want to keep performing as well as I can and if that means dominating then great but who knows."
Germany`s Jennifer Oeser took the bronze with 6683 points.