Ennis-Hill hurdles over motherhood to win again

BEIJING • It was, by any measure, the mother of all comebacks.

Just 13 months after giving birth and three years after her last major championships, Jessica Ennis-Hill is now a two-time heptathlon world champion.

She capped a memorable two days by winning the final 800m heat in 2min 10.13sec to finish as the runaway winner with a total of 6,669 points at the Bird's Nest stadium yesterday - a season's best.

Canada's Commonwealth Games winner Brianne Theisen-Eaton, the title favourite, settled for silver (6,554) while Latvian Laura Ikauniece-Admidina claimed bronze (6,516).

Ennis-Hill's fellow Briton Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who gift-wrapped the gold after failing to post a mark in the long jump yesterday morning, finished 28th and last on 5,039 points with eight competitors having dropped out.

The 22-year-old came unstuck after unwisely deciding to go for broke in the long jump, attacking the board aggressively in a bid to claw back some of Ennis-Hill's 80- point overnight advantage.

But her high-risk strategy backfired as she fouled her first two attempts and was red-flagged again despite landing a huge third jump.

Reigning Olympic champion Ennis-Hill, who nailed a season's best long jump of 6.43m, gave her rival a hug after watching her suddenly crash out of medal contention from second overall.

A javelin throw of 42.51m then put Ennis-Hill on the brink before she wrapped up the formalities with a rousing finish, overtaking Theisen-Eaton on the back straight.

"This time last year I'd just had my son and now I am world champion. It's just an incredible feeling," said the 29-year-old.

Earlier, Spain's Miguel Angel Lopez broke Chinese hearts to win the men's 20km walk.

Olympic bronze medallist Wang Zhen had looked set to claim the host country's first gold after bursting clear at the 13km mark, only for the European champion to reel him in over the last 5km.

Lopez clocked a personal best of 1hr 19min 14sec. Wang (1:19:29) took the silver and Canada's Benjamin Thorne the bronze in 1:19:57.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2015, with the headline 'Ennis-Hill hurdles over motherhood to win again'. Print Edition | Subscribe