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London 2012 Olympics: Marathon – Tiki Gelana wins gold as Mara Yamauchi does not finish

Marathon misery for Brit Yamauchi as Ethiopia's Gelana wins shock gold

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UPDATED:

13:23 GMT, 5 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Mara Yamauchi's Olympic marathon lasted less than 10 kilometres on the rainy streets of London on Sunday as Ethiopian Tiki Gelana took a surprise gold.

A week after Paula Radcliffe withdrew from London 2012 with a foot problem, an injured Yamauchi stopped in tears on the side of the road around 9.4km into the race as she decided she could go no further.

The 38-year-old Oxford athlete had been hampered by a bruised heel in the build-up to the Games and, although determined to get to the startline, was clearly not fit.

Golden moment: Tiki Gelana crosses the finish line to win the women's marathon

Golden moment: Tiki Gelana crosses the finish line to win the women's marathon

Gelana, in her first major championship, crossed the finish line on The Mall in two hours 23.07 minutes, an Olympic record, with Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo taking silver and Russia's Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova the bronze.

Scotland's Freya Murray, who had only been called up to the team a week ago following Radcliffe's withdrawal, was the first Briton home in 44th place, clocking 2hrs 32.14mins.

Her team-mate Claire Hallissey finished 57th in 2:35.39.

And they're off: The competitors leave the start line

And they're off: The competitors leave the start line

Yamauchi, though, was one of eight in the 118-strong field not to finish.

The 38-year-old, who finished sixth
in the Beijing Olympic marathon but has since been plagued by injury,
could not live with even the steady early pace of the large leading
pack.

'I was more than confident I could
give it a good go and I started off but on about the second corner it
(my heel) started hurting,' she said.

Wet, wet, wet: The runners had to contend with rain throughout the race

Wet, wet, wet: The runners had to contend with rain throughout the race

'I did my best – it's not the best
situation to be in, dropping out of the Olympic marathon at a home Games
– but I gave it my very best and I didn't want my Olympic journey to
end like this.

'I'm sorry for all the people who
supported me and encouraged me and came today in the pouring rain to
support me but I am still so pleased for their help.

'I've been doing lots of work cross
training and a reasonable amount of running so I knew cardio-vascular
wise I was fit and I have been able to run my foot.

'I did think about withdrawing
beforehand but I decided it's not that bad I can run I can do the race
and I had much higher hopes but sadly it wasn't to be.'

Shock win: Gelana was not expected to challenge for gold

Shock win: Gelana was not expected to challenge for gold

Shock win: Gelana was not expected to challenge for gold

Jessica Ennis sets British heptathlon record

Golden girl Ennis warms up for Olympics by setting new British heptathlon record

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UPDATED:

15:00 GMT, 27 May 2012

Jessica Ennis answered her critics in resounding fashion by smashing the British heptathlon record of former Olympic champion Denise Lewis in Gotzis.

Ennis arrived in Austria to find herself bizarrely labelled 'fat' by a senior figure at UK Athletics and having lost both her world titles in the space of seven months.

But the 26-year-old from Sheffield hit back in brilliant style to record a third straight win at the Hypo Meeting with a new personal best of 6,906 points in her only heptathlon before the London Games.

Brit special: Jessica Ennis celebrates beating Denise Lewis' record

Brit special: Jessica Ennis celebrates beating Denise Lewis' record

Jessica Ennis celebrates after winning the women's Heptathlon competition

That was 75 more than the previous record of 6,831 set by Lewis in 2000, shortly before she won Olympic gold in Sydney, and makes Ennis only the eighth woman ever to score more than 6,900.

Russia's Tatyana Chernova, who took Ennis' world title in Daegu last year, was 132 points behind in second, with Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska a distant ninth almost 600 points adrift.

Focused: Ennis has put herself in pole position for the London Olympics

Focused: Ennis has put herself in pole position for the London Olympics

Ennis had been keen to play down the possibility of the record on Saturday evening, despite a personal best of 22.88 seconds in the 200m giving her a first-day total of 4,113 points, 33 ahead of her score at the European Championships in Barcelona in 2010 when she set her previous PB of 6,823.

That was perhaps understandable given that poor performances in the javelin and long jump cost her the world outdoor title in Daegu last year and world indoor crown in Istanbul in March respectively, but this time there was emphatically no second-day stumble.

Leap of faith: Ennis maintained her overnight lead to take victory

Leap of faith: Ennis maintained her overnight lead to take victory

Ennis equalled her personal best of 6.51m in the long jump and then threw a personal best of 47.11m in the javelin, improving her previous mark by 40cm in the opening round and also producing consistent subsequent throws of 44.32m and 44.66m.

That left her needing to complete the 800m in a relatively pedestrian two minutes 14 seconds to break Lewis's record, but she made absolutely certain by clocking 2:09.00, leading from the gun before just being beaten to the line by Chernova.

Final flurry: Ennis (right) in the 800m

Final flurry: Ennis (right) in the 800m

A delighted Ennis said: 'I am so happy. To have scored what I scored, I brought the long jump back, proved my javelin's in a better state, I'm over the moon.

'It's something that's been at the back of my mind and I wanted to achieve, but I didn't want to put too much pressure on it.

'Now I have the record I am very, very pleased.'

Speaking about losing her two world titles, Ennis added: 'I've learnt from those times. I learnt what I need to do in the long jump, what I needed to do in the javelin and I've been able to rectify those events. It's been a bit of a learning curve which is good.

'It was great to have a PB in the first round of the javelin. We came away from last year really disappointed, me, Mick (Hill) and Toni (Minichiello), and we've done a lot of work and I know Mick's going to be really happy with that performance.

'I knew I was capable of doing it, it was just a case of putting it together on the day.'

Ennis will now head to the London Olympics as favourite to claim the gold medal in her home Games.

Jessica Ennis on track for British Heptathlon record

Ennis is lean and mean! Ice maiden Jessica on track for British record

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UPDATED:

17:30 GMT, 26 May 2012

Jessica Ennis has the British record of former Olympic champion Denise Lewis in her sights after a brilliant end to the opening day of the heptathlon in Gotzis.

Ennis saved the best for last at the Hypo Meeting she has won for the past two years with a brilliant new personal best of 22.88 seconds in the 200 metres, taking 0.23secs off her previous best set here last year.

Superior: Jessica Ennis (left) eased to victory the hurdle event of the heptathlon

Superior: Jessica Ennis (left) eased to victory the hurdle event of the heptathlon

That gave her a lead of 221 points over Lithuania's Austra Skujyte, with world champion Tatyana Chernova of Russia another eight points behind in third.

Ennis' total of 4,113 points was just 11 behind her best first-day total from when she won the world title in Berlin in 2009, but significantly 33 ahead of her total at the European Championships in Barcelona the following year.

On that occasion she went on to set her personal best of 6,823, just eight points shy of Lewis's British record, which was set in France in 2000 before she won Olympic gold in Sydney.

Lean: Ennis quashed claims that she was out of shape by romping to victory in the hurdles

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis uses a rubbish bin filled with ice

Ice maiden: Ennis in great shape in Gotzis before cooling down in 'ice bath'

Ice maiden: Jessica Ennis stands in a rubbish bin filled with ice as she holds a press conference

Cool: Ennis stands in a rubbish bin filled with ice as she holds press conference

'I'm honestly not thinking about it yet, I just want to focus on getting the next three events right and then we'll see at the end of it,' Ennis told reporters while standing in an ice bath fashioned from a wheelie ban in the bowels of the Mosle Stadion.

'I would love the British record definitely, but it is just about me preparing the best I can for the summer and making sure I am confident and I've built on what I've done in the indoors and last year. That's more important to me at the moment.'

Asked about her large lead after the opening day, Ennis added: “I am quite surprised because it's Olympic year and I expected everyone to be on top of their game, but we've seen in previous years that a couple of athletes aren't quite there at this stage but they improve a lot by the summer.

Looking on: Ennis, with coach Toni Minichello, appeared disappointed after the high jump

Looking on: Ennis, with coach Toni Minichello, appeared disappointed after the high jump

'It's a nice position to be in and I want to have a really good second day now. I just need to come back and do what I know I'm capable of doing in the long jump, javelin and running a good 800 metres.'

Ennis had earlier shrugged off the bizarre reports that a senior figure at UK Athletics had labelled her 'fat' with a superb run in the opening event of the 100m hurdles, and this time there were no nasty surprises.

On her last competitive appearance at the CityGames in Manchester, Ennis seemingly ran a personal best of 12.75 seconds, only to later discover that just nine hurdles instead of the required 10 had been set out on the track.

Leading the way: Ennis was in control despite falling short in the high jump event

Leading the way: Ennis was in control despite falling short in the high jump event

This time all 10 hurdles were present and correct – her coach Toni Minichiello making a point of counting them personally – and Ennis cleared them all in 12.81secs to win the final heat.

That was just 0.02s outside her personal best and a stadium record, while also being the fastest hurdles time she has recorded as part of a heptathlon.

The high jump is also traditionally one of Ennis's strongest events, but the former world champion was disappointed to only clear 1.85m today, 10 centimetres down on her personal best.

On her shoulders: Ennis looks focused ahead of her attempt at the shot putt

On her shoulders: Ennis looks focused ahead of her attempt at the shot putt

'It should be way better than that so it's frustrating. (Nataliya) Dobrynska and Chernova didn't jump too well either so there is a little positive to take from it, but I'm still disappointed,' Ennis said.

'It just didn't happen. The headwind wasn't great, but I can't blame it on that really.'

Ennis' first effort in the shot looked close to a personal best but was ruled a foul as she lost balance and stepped out the front of the circle.

On the run: Ennis managed second place in the 200m race

On the run: Ennis managed second place in the 200m race

Her second attempt of 14.51m was just 16cm down on her outdoor PB, but after being unable to improve in the final round she found herself down in second place overall.

Skujyte had moved 11 points ahead of Ennis with a best of 16.49m, but the 32-year-old's advantage did not last long as Ennis chased home Holland's Dafne Schippers in the 200m to set a new PB which also gives her the Olympic 'A' qualifying standard in the individual event and takes her top of the British rankings in 2012.

'I've been trying to run under 23 (seconds) for so long,' Ennis added. 'I just felt I'd done some really good training the last few weeks, a lot of hard running sessions that have paid off, so I'm really really happy with that.'

All smiles: Ennis was delighted with her first day achievements

All smiles: Ennis was delighted with her first day achievements

Jessica Ennis romps to victory in hurdles in Gotzis

Impressive Ennis hurdles into lead in Gotzis with stadium record

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UPDATED:

11:03 GMT, 26 May 2012

Jessica Ennis has made the perfect start to the defence of her heptathlon title at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis – and this time there were no nasty surprises.

Ennis, who on Friday shrugged off claims from an unnamed GB athletics official that she is 'fat', was quick out of the traps in Gotzis.

Superior: Jessica Ennis (left) eased to victory the hurdle event of the heptathlon

Superior: Jessica Ennis (left) eased to victory the hurdle event of the heptathlon

On her last competitive appearance at the event, Ennis seemingly ran a personal best of 12.75 seconds in the 100m hurdles, only to later discover that just nine hurdles instead of the required 10 had been set out on the track.

Lean: Ennis quashed claims that she was out of shape by romping to victory in the hurdles

Lean: Ennis quashed claims that she was out of shape by romping to victory in the hurdles

This time all 10 hurdles were present and correct – her coach Toni Minichiello making a point of counting them personally – and Ennis cleared them all in 12.81secs to win the final heat.

That was just 0.02secs outside her personal best, making it her joint second quickest ever run and also a stadium record, while also being worth a 32-point lead over Canada's Jessica Zelinka.

Russia's Tatyana Chernova was 79 points behind in fourth, and Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska 170 points adrift after finishing last in her heat.

Dobrynska revealed on Friday that her training had been understandably disrupted by the death of her husband and coach Dima Polyakov two months ago.

Jessica Ennis: Vows to lay down Olympic marker at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis

Ennis brushes off CityGames disappointment and vows to lay down Olympic marker in Gotzis

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UPDATED:

14:58 GMT, 21 May 2012

Jessica Ennis has set her sights on sending out a warning to her Olympic rivals when she competes in her first heptathlon of the year this weekend.

The 26-year-old face of the Games will take on her main contenders for gold in London at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis.

Ennis has a point to prove after having to settle for silver behind Russia's Tatyana Chernova at last year's World Championships and also behind Nataliya Dobrynska of Ukraine at the World Indoor Championships in March.

Head down: Ennis was denied a PB after a gaffe at the race in Manchester

Head down: Ennis was denied a PB after a gaffe at the race in Manchester

But she will go into the event on the back of a hugely impressive victory over 100 metres hurdles at the Powerade Great CityGames in Manchester on Sunday.

She beat hurdles specialists Dawn Harper and Danielle Carruthers, the Olympic champion and world silver medallist respectively, on a specially-constructed city-centre track, some achievement even if her time of 12.75 seconds could not count as a personal best because a blunder by race officials meant only nine hurdles were set up rather than 10.

The hurdles is the first event in heptathlon competition, and Ennis' strongest of the seven, and she knows a good start will be crucial.

'I need to run that [time] in a heptathlon, but it's been great to just have a race, get sharp and I can hopefully do something similar next weekend,' the Sheffield athlete said.

'It's a really important for me to just get race sharp ahead of next weekend.

All smiles: Ennis has vowed to bounce back in Gotzis

All smiles: Ennis has vowed to bounce back in Gotzis

'I would love to run a time like that in the hurdles in Gotzis and just get some really solid performances in, just make sure everything is really consistent.'

Ennis was let down in Daegu last year by a poor javelin and indoors in Istanbul by her long jump and she is determined for there to be no weak events in Gotzis.

'More than anything I just want really solid performances, not for one event to really let me down,' she said.

'When you do great performances you do take a lot of confidence from them so I would love to do that as well.'

laura Williamson 2012 blog

Two successive silver rather than gold medals have eased the pressure on Ennis ahead of the home Olympics – she is no longer the favourite it was assumed she would be this time last year – and she has faith in her preparation.

'My programme's all carefully worked out,' Ennis, still the European champion, said. 'I'm in great shape now ahead of Gotzis, but I also want to build on that and make sure I'm in great shape ahead of the Olympics as well.

'My programme is carefully thought out so I am in the place I need to be at those two times.'

Ennis' run in Manchester again raised questions over whether she might double up at the Olympics, but she remained adamant that was not a realistic option because of the schedule.

There is only one day between the heptathlon and the heats of the hurdles.

'I would love to do the hurdles, but I just feel it's too close and I want to keep really focused on the heptathlon,' she said.

London 2012 Olympics: Jessica Ennis reveals secret tactic: Be rude to family and friends

Ennis reveals secret tactic to achieve Olympic gold: Be rude to family and friends!

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UPDATED:

10:47 GMT, 19 April 2012

Jessica Ennis has revealed her focus on Olympic glory in London will necessitate being 'rude' to friends and family.

Ennis is desperate to win gold on home soil this summer, especially after losing her world heptathlon and pentathlon titles in the space of seven months.

The 26-year-old had enjoyed a long unbeaten run until finishing second behind Russia's Tatyana Chernova in Daegu last year, while even a personal best was not enough to retain her World Indoor title in Istanbul, where Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska returned to form with a new world record.

Final hurdle: Ennis is on the countdown to London... be wary if you are a family member or friend

Final hurdle: Ennis is on the countdown to London… be wary if you are a family member or friend

And that means Ennis will be more focused than ever when she competes in London in August, where her parents, sister and fiance Andy will be in attendance.

'If I step out into the stadium I don't look for my family and friends and if I do catch their eye I completely ignore them,' said Ennis, speaking at the launch of Jaguar's Academy for Sport, of which she is an ambassador.

'I want to stay so focused so I blank them out and probably come across as quite rude.

'It can be a distraction, you just have to blank them out. You don't want any other thoughts creeping into your head, anything that just slightly distracts you is a big negative.

All smiles: Ennis is looking forward to heading abroad in a holding camp ahead of the Games

All smiles: Ennis is looking forward to heading abroad in a holding camp ahead of the Games

'I don't even know where they are sat most of the time, but they'll just catch your eye and I'm like, 'Damn, I don't want to see them!' They know the deal, that I'm trying to compete and it's not about waving to the crowd and smiling to my family so they understand.'

Ennis is relishing the pressure of competing in a home Games as Britain's athletes look to meet their target of eight medals, one of them gold.

Neil Wilson

But she admits it is a good idea for the team to escape the hype at home by spending time in a holding camp in Montegordo in Portugal immediately before the Games.

'I think the holding camp is a great idea,' the Sheffield athlete added. 'It's a great set up in Montegordo. It will be great just to get away out of the country, you are not switching your TV and seeing everything and you escape from it a bit.

'That will be the only time I get away before the Games.'

London 2012 Olympics: Jessica Ennis – I"m not favourite for gold

Ennis: After silver medal performance I'm not favourite for London

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UPDATED:

23:23 GMT, 10 March 2012

Jessica Ennis has admitted she no longer sees herself as favourite to win Olympic heptathlon gold in London after being beaten in the pentathlon at the world indoor championships in Istanbul.

Successive silver medals – at the world outdoor championships in Daegu last summer and on Friday – have forced her to accept she may fall short at her home Games.

'Nataliya Dobrynska is definitely the favourite to win the gold medal now,' said Ennis, 26.

Silver lining: Ennis was second after a fine 800m run

Silver lining: Ennis was second after a fine 800m run

'She always comes good in Olympic year and, after what she did here, the public will expect her to win in London.'

The Ukrainian smashed the indoor pentathlon world record with 5,013 points, 48 ahead of Ennis, while Russia's outdoor world champion, Tatyana Chernova, was fifth.

Ennis earned personal bests in the shot and 800m, the latter hauling her into the silver medal place.

But a below-par effort in the long jump meant Ennis slumped from first to third and needed to beat Dobrynska by six seconds in the 800m. She fell short by three seconds.

Flying the flag: Ennis has warned that she may not take gold this summer

Flying the flag: Ennis has warned that she may not take gold this summer

'I gave it everything I could,' she said. 'It was difficult because I knew the gold would be almost impossible to win but I'm pleased with that final effort. It shows, if it's tight in London as we reach the final event, I'll be well placed.

'If I want to win Olympic gold, I can't afford to have an average discipline in any of the seven.

'On the one hand I've won two silver medals in the last two world championships, which shows consistency, but on the other I know more than ever it's going to be tough to win in London.

'I'll take the next week off, analyse what went wrong with my long jump, then start preparing for the summer.'

Mix-up: Ennis had initially been told she had won gold in Istanbul

Mix-up: Ennis had initially been told she had won gold in Istanbul

Jessica Ennis claims heptathlon lead at World Indoor Championships

Looking good, Jessica! Ennis ahead in heptathlon at World Indoor Championships

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UPDATED:

11:55 GMT, 9 March 2012

Jessica Ennis has claimed the lead after two events of the heptathlon at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

Ennis moved into a lead of 109 points over Austra Skujyte, with Tatyana Chernova another 15 points adrift.

More details to follow

Clearing the bar: Jessica Ennis in high jump action in Istanbul

Clearing the bar: Jessica Ennis in high jump action in Istanbul

Mo Farah could miss World Indoor Championships

Farah could miss World Indoor Championships after finishing second in Birmingham

Mo Farah could be a notable absentee when Great Britain name their team for the upcoming World Indoor Championships in Istanbul next month.

The world 5,000 metres champion revealed after running in Birmingham on Saturday he and his coach Alberto Salazar had yet to decide whether he would race over 3,000m in Turkey.

The United States-based athlete endured an off day at the second city's NIA as he was beaten into second by Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge over two miles, despite setting a new European record for the rarely-run distance.

Struggle: Mo Farah finished second in the two mile race in Birmingham

Struggle: Mo Farah finished second in the two mile race in Birmingham

The 28-year-old said: 'I'll have a chat with my coach. We'll just see how it goes. I don't know what he will say.'

The two-time European indoor champion, who was clearly working hard to just finish second in Birmingham, revealed the decision over his participation would depend on how he recovered from the race.

'There was nothing guaranteed (before Saturday's race). We (Salazar and Farah) said we could go, it just depended how the race went here (in Birmingham), how I felt,' Farah added.

Jessica Ennis will be on the team as she defends her pentathlon title against the Tatyana Chernova, the Russian who took her world heptathlon title in Daegu last summer.

Decisions, decisions; Farah (left) could skip the World Indoor Championships

Decisions, decisions; Farah (left) could skip the World Indoor Championships

The Sheffield athlete was in scintillating form in Birmingham, running a world leading time in the 60m hurdles, but ruled out doubling up in Istanbul.

The pentathlon and the heats for the 60m hurdles both take place on the opening day of competition on March 9.

On competing in both events, Ennis said: 'No way, it's not something I've really thought about. It's great to be that competitive in the hurdles, but I need to focus on the pentathlon.'

In fine form: Jessica Ennis showed her Olympic preparations are on track

In fine form: Jessica Ennis showed her Olympic preparations are on track

Pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale joins Ennis as a genuine medal contender after an outstanding start to the season, while Anguilla-born long-jumper Shara Proctor will be named in the team on the back of breaking the British indoor record in Birmingham.

The world indoors, which takes place from March 9 to 11, will see many of Britain's athletes take on their rivals for Olympic gold in London this summer.

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee will name his team at midday on Tuesday.

London 2012 Olympics: Jessica Ennis targets gold

Ennis promises to win gold in London and beat British record after Daegu disappointment

Jessica Ennis believes she will have to smash her personal best and the British record to win Olympic gold next year.

“I”ll have to break the British record, definitely,” Ennis said. “I think it could take 6,900 points to win and that”s going to be really, really tough.”

Ennis has a personal best of 6,823 points, which she set in winning the European Championships in Barcelona last year.

Silver service: Ennis is hoping to improve on her performance in Daegu

Silver service: Ennis is hoping to improve on her performance in Daegu

That is just eight points down on the British record of former Olympic champion Denise Lewis, but Russia”s Tatyana Chernova scored 6,880 points in taking Ennis” world title in Daegu earlier this year.

Ennis paid the price for a poor javelin throw in Korea, but added in The Times: “It”s not like I”m chasing. I”m there. I made a couple of mistakes but I”m where I need to be.”

Flying the flag: Ennis hopes to win gold and beat the British record next summer

Flying the flag: Ennis hopes to win gold and beat the British record next summer

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old has revealed she will strictly limit her media work in 2012, adding: “When I start competing I will just say no to all the media and other stuff.

“It will all be over before you know it and the main thing now is staying injury-free and being in a position to give yourself the chance on the day.”