JESSICA Ennis-Hill has delayed her comeback from an ankle injury yet again by opting not to compete at the Sainsbury’s British Championships in Birmingham this weekend.
The 27-year-old has not taken to the track since winning the Olympic heptathlon title last summer, and UK Athletics said her recovery has continued to progress slowly.
Her coach, Toni Minichiello, is still optimistic Ennis-Hill will be fit to compete at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow but, with that event only a month away, there is now a real possibility that she will head to Russia having not competed all summer.
Her decision not to compete in Birmingham means she has now pulled out of four meetings this summer, including an event in Edinburgh and her heptathlon in Estonia last month.
The heptathlete is looking to regain the world title after having to settle for silver, behind Russia’s Tatyana Chernova, in Daegu in 2011.
She is scheduled to compete at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco next Thursday, followed by Loughborough and the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games the following week, although those participations remain very much up in the air.
Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford has also pulled out of the British Championships due to the hamstring injury he suffered competing in Paris last weekend.
With the event not on Mo Farah’s schedule as he prepares for the 5,000 and 10,000 metres in Moscow, it means none of Great Britain’s three Olympic champions will be competing at the flagship meeting in the British athletics calendar, which starts tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Scottish athlete Chris O’Hare, who missed out on the European Championships and London Olympics, is determined to win in Birmingham and book a place in Moscow.
The portents look promising for 1500m specialist O’Hare after he recorded a personal best in Belgium last weekend at 3.35.37.
That lifted him above Olympians Frank Clement and David Strang but the Tulsa University student is hungry to achieve more and he looks a medal prospect for this weekend, along with Eilidh Child, Eilish McColgan, Steph Twell and hammer thrower Mark Dry.
Scotland picked up nine medals at the indoor equivalent back in February but the challenge is lessened a little by the injury absence of Lynsey Sharp and the presence of six young talents – like Laura Muir, Allan Smith and Jax Thoirs – with Team GB at the Euro Under-23s in Finland.
“I am happy and confident heading to Birmingham for the Sainsbury’s champs and the clear goal now is trying to make the GB team for the Worlds,” said 22-year-old O’Hare.
“I think it will be more tactical than really fast this weekend, and I like to think of racing as my speciality. I have to prove that and try and win the trial and, hopefully, that will be good enough to get me picked for Moscow.”
O’Hare topped the British rankings with a B standard victoryin Belgium last weekend, with Lee Emmanuel his nearest rival and fellow Scot David Bishop at No4. Bishop, the 3000m indoor champion, is entered for the 1500m this weekend, too, as well as other Scots like Kris Gauson and Ross Matheson.
Child is up against Perri Shakes-Drayton in the 400m hurdles again this weekend, with the Scot having won silver last year.
She will also be running with the confidence of having clocked a personal best time of 54.22 seconds, which she posted at the recent Birmingham Diamond League meet.
McColgan claimed the 3000m steeplechase gold last year en route to the Olympics and is looking to defend that title after missing out on the European Team Championships in Gateshead through injury.
Scottish hammer throwers Dry – a silver medallist last year – and Andy Frost could be in the hunt for podium places again, but leading high jumpers Jayne Nisbet (injury) and Allan Smith (who are at the European U23 Championships) are absent.
Andrew Lemoncello competes in the 10,000m on the track tonight before then racing 10k on the roads at the Great Edinburgh Run on Sunday. The Olympian, recovering from injury, is yet to post a Glasgow 2014 standard and requires to be under 29.00 minutes to do so for the 10,000m.
Fit-again Steph Twell will be in contention in the 5000m, while long jumper Jade Nimmo, the Scottish record holder, could make the podium if she produces near her 6.47m best.
• Senior GB international Laura Muir chases Euro Under-23 glory over 1500m in Finland over the weekend, with five other Scots also in Tampere.
Scotland is well-represented in the women’s endurance, with Beth Potter at 5000m and Rhona Auckland at 10,000m as well as emerging prospect Muir. Jax Thoirs at pole vault, Allan Smith in high jump and James McLachlan in the long jump are the others involved.