Jessica Ennis-Hill will compete in her first major championship since London 2012 after deciding to go to the World Championships in Beijing next month.
The Olympic heptathlon champion, who was named by British Athletics yesterday in a 62-strong team for the event, passed the acid test of her fitness at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games last weekend with flying colours, recording her best performances since the Olympics in the 100 metres hurdles, long jump and 200m.
It’s all going in the right direction. I’m coming into form at the right time hopefullyJessica Ennis-Hill
The 29-year-old’s decision to take her place is proof she believes she can be a serious contender for a medal in China, having repeatedly stated she would not travel if she did not think she could make the podium.
The Sheffield athlete is joined in the heptathlon by Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who has also been selected in the long jump. Another heptathlete, 18-year-old Morgan Lake, will go in the high jump instead.
Mo Farah will defend his 5,000m and 10,000m titles after a difficult season in which his coach Alberto Salazar has been engulfed by doping allegations, while Adam Gemili, who has not raced since suffering a hamstring injury in early June, has been named in the 4x100m team.
Dina Asher-Smith, who became the first British woman to run the 100m in under 11 seconds when she clocked 10.99secs on Saturday, will race over 200m in Beijing. Richard Kilty has been handed the third and final spot in the men’s 100m alongside Chijindu Ujah and James Dasaolu, while European champion Martyn Rooney has missed out on selection in the 400m, having to make do with a 4x400m relay spot.
Ennis-Hill made her decision to compete with coach Toni Minichiello in the wake of her performances at the Olympic Stadium, with her hurdles showing in particular – her time of 12.79s was her second fastest ever – emphatic evidence her speed is back.
Ennis-Hill missed the World Championships in 2013 due to an Achilles injury and did not compete at all in 2014 as she took time out to have her son Reggie.
She only returned to action in May and in the 11 weeks since has come on leaps and bounds, the Achilles niggles which troubled her on her return having seemingly cleared up.
She said on Saturday: “I feel the training I’ve done over the past few weeks has made a big difference. It’s all going in the right direction, not taking any steps backwards. I’m coming into form at the right time hopefully. Three or four weeks is a good amount of time to get some training done as well.”
Beijing will be Ennis-Hill’s second heptathlon since London 2012, following her fourth-placed finish in Gotzis at the end of May in which she qualified for Rio. It will be the first time she has gone head to head with domestic rival Johnson-Thompson, her heir apparent in multi-event, since the Olympics, with the prospect of them both going for gold, along with Canadian world No 1 Brianne Theisen-Eaton, a mouth-watering one.
“It’s going to be a really high standard [in Beijing],” Ennis-Hill said. “Obviously Brianne is on great form, Kat is as well. It will be a battle.”
Defending champion Christine Ohuruogu will compete in the 400m, while Olympic champion Greg Rutherford will bid for the complete set of major titles in the long jump.
Overseas-born rising stars Zharnel Hughes and Cindy Ofili, who were only cleared to compete for Great Britain this summer, go in the 200m and the 100m hurdles, but there is no place for Lucy Hatton, the European indoor silver medallist, in the latter event.
Andy Vernon, the European 10,000m silver medallist, who has had a long-running public feud with Farah, was also left out of the team. He tweeted: “Really disappointed to be left out of the World Champs team for Beijing. Maybe one day someone in British Athletics will believe in me.”
Commenting on the team, British Athletics performance director Neil Black said: “I’m very confident we have selected a team who can be successful in Beijing, as well as use it as a platform onto further Olympic and World successes.”