Sheffield golden girl is back - but in pain

Jessica Ennis-Hill competes in the womens javelin during the Loughborough European Athletics Permit Meet at Loughborough University, Loughborough. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 23, 2013. See PA story ATHLETICS Loughborough. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Jessica Ennis-Hill competes in the womens javelin during the Loughborough European Athletics Permit Meet at Loughborough University, Loughborough. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 23, 2013. See PA story ATHLETICS Loughborough. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
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Sheffield’s Jessica Ennis-Hill admitted her ankle is still causing her pain after her comeback at a low-key meeting in Loughborough last night.

The Olympic heptathlon champion competed for the first time this summer in front of 500 spectators at the Loughborough European Athletics Permit.

There was good news for the 27-year-old as she set a new personal best in the javelin. She produced a consistent series of throws and hurling the spear out to 48.33 metres. She finished fourth.

Ennis admitted the injury, to her left Achilles tendon, was still causing problems. “It’s one little bit that’s really painful. When I compress it and when I’m pushing off it, it hurts.”

“If I had one event to prepare for then maybe it would have been a bit easier, but having to train for seven events and get all the work done that I needed to get done, it just hasn’t happened unfortunately.”

Ennis-Hill explained the javelin puts relatively little strain on the injury.

“It felt okay,” she added. “It’s always been quite good with the javelin. It’s some of the other events that are a little bit more troubling with it.”

How the ankle reacts to competition will be assessed over the coming days, with Ennis-Hill still keen to compete in the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday, where she is due to line up in the 100m hurdles and the long jump.

Ennis-Hill’s return to action could scarcely be more timely with the World Championships in Moscow less than three weeks away, but she revealed she would only make the trip if she felt in shape to compete for the gold medal.

She said: “I want to be competitive, I don’t want to go to just enjoy it. I want to contend for the gold medal.”

The fans were certainly happy to see her back, though, gathering for autographs and pictures trackside, with their hero obliging.

She said: “I am happy to be back, it’s been a while.

“It’s been really frustrating. I didn’t think I’d be opening up my season in July, and practically the end of July.

“It’s been a long few weeks just assessing it each day, seeing how it’s feeling and having to pull out of so many competitions that I’d planned to do. It’s just been really frustrating and disappointing.”

Before today her only outing since winning gold at London 2012 had been a small event at Leeds Metropolitan University in April, where she won the javelin.

The injury had forced her to delay her comeback five times this summer, most recently pulling out of last Friday’s Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

Her scheduled heptathlon in Estonia at the end of last month also fell by the wayside, meaning Moscow would be her first seven-event competition since London 2012.