Jessica ENNIS will need a brilliant performance in the final event of the heptathlon – and some help from her rivals – to retain her world title in Daegu.
Ennis trails Russia’s Tatyana Chernova by 133 points going into the 800 metres this evening, which represents a massive time difference of around nine seconds.
The 25-year-old from Sheffield held a 151-point lead coming into the second day of competition and equalled her personal best in the long jump, but a poor performance in the javelin left her facing a first defeat since returning from the serious injury which ruled her out of the Beijing Olympics.
Ennis looked to be in good shape after a best of 6.51m in the long jump meant her lead was only reduced to 118 points. Chernova would have been hoping to close the gap further by getting close to her personal best of 6.82m, but could only beat Ennis by 10cm with a best of 6.61m.
However, Chernova then threw 52.95m in the first pool of the javelin, while Ennis could only manage 39.95m in the second pool after twice slipping on the runway. Her coach Toni Minichiello said: “I’m a little bit on the stunned side but we will take a look at it. If she’d only been three seconds behind it would have been game on. Now it’s big game on.
“She should have done better in the javelin and she will know it. It went really well at the training camp in Ulsan and I’m amazed you can come to a major championship and have a patch on the javelin runway.
“She slipped twice on the patch but I am clutching at straws somewhat. If she runs 2:10 in the 800m she’s still going to score 6,700 points so it’s not a bad score, but nobody likes to finish second.”