Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Ennis stars as Merritt crashes out

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Jessica Ennis of Great Britain competes in the Women's Heptathlon Long Jump on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis celebrates after competing in the Women's Heptathlon 200m at the Olympic Stadium, London, on the seventh day of the London 2012 Olympics
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis celebrates after the Women's Heptathlon 200m at the Olympic Stadium, London, on the seventh day of the London 2012 Olympics
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis competes in the shot put during the Heptathlon, in the Olympic Stadium, London, on the seventh day of the London 2012 Olympics
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis competes in the shot put during the Heptathlon, in the Olympic Stadium, London, on the seventh day of the London 2012 Olympics
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Jessica Ennis of Great Britain competes in the Women's Heptathlon Long Jump on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Jessica Ennis of Great Britain competes in the Women's Heptathlon Long Jump on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Jessica Ennis of Great Britain competes in the Women's Heptathlon Long Jump on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Jessica Ennis of Great Britain competes in the Women's Heptathlon 200m on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Jessica Ennis of Great Britain competes in the Women's Heptathlon Shot Put on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Jessica Ennis of Great Britain competes in the Women's Heptathlon Shot Puton Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Jessica Ennis of Great Britain listens to her coach Toni Minichiello as she competes in the Women's Heptathlon High Jump on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Jessica Ennis of Great Britain competes in the Women's Heptathlon High Jump on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
Winning smile: Jessica Ennis after winning heat 5 of the Women's Heptathlon 100m Hurdles
Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins poses for the press after winning the Men's Individual Time Trial on day five of the London Olympic Games at Hampton Court Palace, London
Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins with his gold medal during a photocall at GB house in London after he won it in the Men's Road Cycling Individual Time Trial.
Ning Ding of China plays a forehand during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Ai Fukuhara of Japan on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Hope Munro (L) of Australia drops her stick as she is challenged by Julia Mueller of Germany during the Women's Hockey Match between Germany and Australia on day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Riverbank Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Michael Maze of Denmark completes during the Men's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match against Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Chad le Clos of South Africa celebrates after winning the gold in the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: xxxx plays a forehand during the xxxx match against xxxx on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Anthony Davis #14 of United States dunks over Salah Mejri #15 of Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Kosuke Kitajima of Japan prepares to compete in the Men's 200m Breaststroke semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Shiwen Ye of China competes in the Women's 200m Individual Medley final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: (L-R) Gemma Lowe of Great Britain and Kathleen Hersey of the United States dive in the water at the start of the Women's 200m Butterfly semi final 2 on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Russell Westbrook #7 of United States dunks the ball against Tunisia during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt competes with Byungchul Choi of Korea in the Men's Foil Individual Semifinal against on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Anderson Mina Rojas of Equador (R) in action with Uktamjon Rahmonov of Uzbekistan during the Men's Light Welter (64kg) Boxing on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Ai Fukuhara of Japan serves during the Women's Singles Table Tennis quarter-final match match against Ning Ding of China on on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Gabrielle Douglas of the United States of America competes on the balance beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Elizabeth Tweddle of Great Britain performs on the uneven bars in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Sheng Lei of China celebrates winning the Men's Foil Individual Gold Medal Bout against Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Silver medallist Michael Phelps of the United States reacts after receiving his medal during the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Qingfeng Lin of China competes during the Men's 69kg Weightlifting Final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Britain's Jessica Ennis surged ever closer to Olympic gold in the heptathlon today with a superb performance in the long jump.



Ennis began day two with a lead of 184 points after personal bests in the 100m hurdles and 200m, and extended her advantage over Lithuania's Austra Skujyte to 258 points this morning.

Ennis has struggled with her run-up this season, committing seven fouls in 12 attempts during two competitions earlier this summer, and managed just 5.95m with her first attempt.

However, the 26-year-old then hit the board perfectly on her second to soar out to 6.40m, just 11cm down on her personal best, and there was better still to come in the final round as another capacity 80,000 crowd roared the former world champion down the runway and out to 6.48m for 1,001 points.

World champion Tatyana Chernova was the only athlete to jump further than Ennis, a leap of 6.54m moving her up from ninth to third and 290 points behind Ennis, but reigning Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska's challenge is over after two fouls and a last aborted attempt of 3.70m dropped her to 33rd.

There was also drama on the track as South Africa's Oscar Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics, the 'Blade Runner' making the semi-finals of the 400m as controversial defending champion LaShawn Merritt crashed out.

Pistorius was second in the opening heat to advance, while Merritt pulled up injured around 120m into heat six after failing to recover from a hamstring injury suffered in Monaco recently.

Merritt said: "You couldn't even imagine [what I've been through to get here]. Countless hours of treatment from 8am till about 10pm.

"I thought I could come out and get my way through but I'm still young and I have a long career ahead of me. There was no reason to push it. Once I got on that back stretch I started floating and I felt it."

Merritt tested positive three times in late 2009 and early 2010 but eventually proved to the satisfaction of authorities that he had ingested the steroid derivative DHEA accidentally through use of a so-called male-enhancement product.

He served a 21-month suspension but remained ineligible for the Olympics because of an IOC rule banning athletes with doping sentences longer than six months, until CAS ruled that the IOC ban unfairly penalised athletes twice for the same offence - a ruling which paved the way for the British Olympic Association's own drugs bylaw to be overturned.

British trio Nigel Levine, Conrad Williams and Martyn Rooney joined Pistorius in the semi-finals, along with Grenada's world champion Kirani James and Belgium's Jonathan Borlee, who demonstrated how quick the track is with a national record of 44.43s.

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