Sunday 25 September 2016

Ennis-Hill tempted by one last stand in London

Oliver Brown

Published 15/08/2016 | 02:30

Jessica Ennis-Hill competes in the women’s heptathlon long jump on her way to winning a silver medal. Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images
Jessica Ennis-Hill competes in the women’s heptathlon long jump on her way to winning a silver medal. Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images

For a woman who had made do with three hours' sleep, Jessica Ennis-Hill still looked her usual sunny, burnished self. She had returned to the athletes' village at 3am, abstemiously restricting herself to a single glass of champagne, but had yet to find a moment to appreciate the silver medal in her hands.

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On what should have been her first morning off in months, she smiled obligingly through a whirl of Rio appearances to satisfy her sponsors.It is all very well singing for your supper, but she had barely had breakfast.

The show was carefully orchestrated by the British team's "head of managing victory" though Ennis-Hill had, on this rare occasion, finished second. She had been vanquished by Nafissatou Thiam (21) from Belgium and a 50/1 shot to claim heptathlon gold before setting five personal bests in seven disciplines.

"She was just on fire," Ennis-Hill said. "I suppose she felt like I did in London four years ago, when everything just clicked."

She refused to be too angst-ridden yesterday. "I honestly am not disappointed. I guess a silver was what I was capable of at this stage of my career. I'm still very proud."

The word that dared not speak its name was retirement. Ennis-Hill had claimed with some emphasis that these would be her final Olympics, but what no one quite knew yesterday was whether they would represent her last competition of any kind.

"I have a feeling in my mind about what I'm going to do, but it's such a huge decision," she said. "I want to make sure that it's the right one."

She did enough to suggest, though, that she was thinking of carrying on for another year.

Next summer's world championships are in London, back at the stadium where she savoured Olympic glory in 2012, and would signify the perfect send-off. "I don't want just to fizzle out," Ennis-Hill said, firmly. I want to go out on a high." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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