Jessica Ennis’ bid to defend her World heptathlon title ended in disappointment in Daegu on Tuesday as she threw away a golden lead to hand Russia’s Tatyana Chernova her first World title at the World Athletics Championships.
As the reigning World and European Champion, Ennis arrived in Daegu as one of Britain’s best bets for a gold medal. She had been talked about as the best heptathlete in the world and a certainty for the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
It all went according to plan as she finished the first day in the number one position, with a lead of 151 points. But that dream came to a shattering halt on the second day of the two-day event.
Ennis produced a less than golden javelin display of only 39.95 metres compared to Chernova’s 52.95 metres. This all but handed the Russian the gold medal. Few would have imagined the Russian to go all the way, having fallen short on numerous occasions.
Heading into the 800 metre final event, Ennis knew that it would take a brilliant piece of running and hoped that Chernova would finish way behind her to give her that precious few seconds to defend her title. However, it wasn’t to be on the day as Chernova rose to the challenge, keeping Ennis in close contact and snatching the gold medal from the Brit.
“I haven’t shed any tears yet but I might. After the javelin I knew I’d thrown it away,” Ennis said.
Clearly she isn’t the world’s best and it will take a gigantic effort and a vast improvement in her ability to string together solid performances in all seven events to win Olympic gold come London 2012. Ennis will see this as a learning curve and rise to the challenge knowing it was her mistake, and not the performance of the Russian, that lost her that gold medal.