Ennis storms into first-day lead

03 August 2012 / 22:43

Britain's Jessica Ennis remains on course for Olympic heptathlon glory after turning a sensational start into a 184-point lead following the opening four events in front of a capacity crowd of 80,000.

Ennis ignited the athletics programme at London 2012 with the fastest 100m hurdles ever run in a heptathlon, clocking 12.54 seconds to smash her personal best and break the British record with a time which won individual gold in Beijing.

A clearance of 1.86m in the high jump gave Ennis a 25-point lead after two events, before a world heptathlon best of 17.31m in the shot from Austra Skujyte took the Lithuanian into a 64-point lead.

However, Ennis then set another personal best of 22.83secs in the 200m for a total of 4,158 points, her best ever first-day score and enough for a lead of 184 points over Skujyte.

Ennis said: "I'm so pleased to end the day with that. I knew it was a fast track from the hurdles and I'm made up to run a PB.

"I'm still in shock about the hurdles. It's been a bit up and down but two PBs is great. It's been amazing. The crowd have been unbelievable. They really do lift you. When you run round the bend you can hear the roar.

"I'm going to have to have a really strong day tomorrow with very strong performances."

Equally as important as the lead over 32-year-old Skujyte is the fact that Ennis is a massive 309 points ahead of Russia's Tatyana Chernova, who succeeded the Briton as world champion last year, and 323 clear of defending Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska.

A 151-point lead over Chernova at the same stage in Daegu was not enough thanks to a terrible performance from Ennis in the javelin, but after improving this year thanks to coaching from former world bronze medallist Mick Hill, Ennis will be confident of avoiding a repeat.

This year she has struggled more in the long jump after problems caused by too much speed on the runway, while the final event - the 800m - remains one of her strengths.