Jessica Ennis-Hill wins Heptathlon gold on a big night in Beijing
Heartbreak for Katarina Johnson-Thompson as long-jump fouls drop her down the order
Usain Bolt defeated Justin Gatlin in the most hotly anticipated 100m clash
BEIJING, CHINA – Britain’s golden girl Jessica Ennis-Hill lived up to expectations once more, as she clinched the Heptathlon Gold at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
The London 2012 Olympic champion had only returned to training last year after the birth of her first child, Reggie, and held off making a decision about her participation unless she could be sure she could acquit herself well on the world stage.
She could not have asked for a better start, as she built up a lead over the first day of competition, racking up a season’s best of 6.43m in the long jump and a throw of 42.51m in the javelin before the grueling 800m, where she had a six-second cushion on points.
Things did not go so well though for her compatriot Katarina Johnson-Thompson. She had finished up Day One in second place, with high hopes for a British One-Two, or at the very least two Brits on the podium. Then the long jump happened – three foul jumps and a desperate appeal, she tumbled down the tables, inconsolable after her interview with the BBC.
Ennis-Hill said to the BBC, saying: “This is definitely one of the greatest moments of my career, I still can’t believe it. Me and coach Toni (Minichiello) spoke about coming here, and we only wanted to come if I was able to compete for a medal.
“We spoke about the bronze medal and that it would be amazing for a silver medal, but we never spoke about gold. I kind of thought it was a little beyond me this year.
“There were doubts before the Anniversary Games but performing in London showed me I was making progress. If I’d come away with a bronze I’d have been so happy, so to win gold is unbelievable.
“This has been the hardest year ever. There were different pressures going into London 2012, but here juggling all my mummy duties has been even harder. I want to thank everyone for their help and sacrifices in helping me get back to being the athlete I was.”
She also had kind words for her compatriot and rival, who she tried to comfort after the trauma of the long jump.
She said: “It’s awful. We’re rivals and we want to better each other, but when she did that in the long jump my heart sunk for her.
“I felt really emotional for her because when you put yourself through two days of heptathlon it’s really awful and it’s hard work.”
The focus of the night in terms of the world stage belonged to a strip of track, and around 10 seconds of focus, as Usain Bolt underlined a turbulent year by his own standards, as well as silencing a debate that had been raging, denying Justin Gatlin the World title., while social media rejoiced.
Gatlin had looked the man to beat, but it was Bolt who was quickest off the blocks and at the end, Gatlin seemed to tighten up, with a little stumble at the dip while Bolt came out on top of a showdown that was always going to be controversial. Does it cleanse the sport of its bad boy doping violation image? No, not while Gatlin can continue to earn on the more lucrative Diamond League circuit, but for now it feels like a small measure of justice was served.
Day Three begins in Beijing at 9:30pm (2:30am BST).
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