A strong long jump and a PB in the javelin gives the 2009 world heptathlon champion a 188-point lead heading towards the final event
Overnight leader Jessica Ennis has been known for her fallibility in the long jump and she had a nervous start after stuttering to a 5.95m (834 points) effort but the 2009 world champion breathed a sigh of relief as she landed a solid 6.40m jump in the second round.
Ennis improved even further to 6.48m (1001 points) in the third round and this was her second best jump in a major championships which brought her overall total to 5159. World champion Tatyana Chernova, as expected, was the best long jumper of the day but 6.54m (1020 points) is still below what the Russian is capable of and the inroads she made into Ennis’s lead were negligible.
The javelin was Ennis’s downfall in Daegu but last year’s performance was nothing more than an anomaly as the UK record-holder concluded her competition with a PB of 47.38m for 809 points to take her overall tally to 5971.
A 51.13m javelin from Austra Skujyte for 882 points cut Ennis’s lead to 188 points but Ennis has an 800m PB of 2:07.81 while Skujyte hasn’t broken 2:20 this year.
Chernova had a disappointing javelin and she lost more ground on Ennis with 46.29m for 788 points. She’s currently in sixth but she boasts the best 800m PB of 2:06.50 so can’t be discounted for a minor medal even though her campaign hasn’t gone according to plan.
Even if Ennis jogs around the track in 2:25 and Chernova sets a PB of 2:06, Ennis will still become the Olympic champion.
While it surely won’t be the primary focus, a time in the 800m of 2:05.69 would give her a 7000-point total. For an improvement on her British record, Ennis just needs a modest 2:12.07.
Standings before the 800m
1. Jessica Ennis 5971
2. Austra Skujyte 5783
3. Lyudmila Yosypenko 5701
4. Ida Antoinette Nana Djimou 5696
5. Lilli Schwarzkopf 5692
6. Tatyana Chernova 5657
7. Kristina Savitsakaya 5520
8. Jessica Zelinka 5503
16. Katarina Johnson-Thompson 5313
30. Louise Hazel 5016
Ryan Bailey might be the least well-known of the three American athletes but the 23-year-old was the fastest qualifier for the 100m semi-finals. Bailey, who had a superb 2010 season before getting injured last year, equalled his PB of 9.88 in the 100m heats.
Justin Gatlin was the second fastest qualifier with 9.97 while Tyson Gay won the first heat although his winning time of 10.08 would be worth more if it wasn’t for a 1.4 m/s headwind.
World champion Yohan Blake was the quickest of the Jamaicans at 10.00. Asafa Powell, 10.04 in heat five, and reigning champion Usain Bolt, 10.09 in heat four, didn’t give anything away either.
Dwain Chambers was selected for the British team despite not achieving the A standard this year but the UK champion firmly justified his selection with a season’s best of 10.02 which was only five-hundredth off his PB set in 1999.
James Dasaolu qualified with his fourth fastest time ever of 10.13 while world junior champion Adam Gemili, who bettered Powell out of the blocks, progressed with 10.11.
Reigning Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt pulled up injured in his last race on the Diamond League circuit in Monaco and while he downplayed the severity of his hamstring injury, he was clearly still in no condition to defend his title. The American gingerly ran the top bend of his heat before stopping on the back straight.
Merritt set the two fastest times in the build-up so his absence means the race for the medals will be keenly contested. Jonathan Borlée was the slower of the Borlée brothers on paper but he regained the Belgian record from his twin brother Kevin with the fastest time of the morning of 44.43 to move to fifth on the European all-time lists.
The British trio all made the semi-finals by right. Beijing finalist Martyn Rooney was the fastest of the triumvirate with 45.36 while Nigel Levine (45.58) and Conrad Williams (46.12) also comfortably progressed.
Barbara Parker performed well in the heats of the 3000m steeplechase. She ran her third fastest time ever of 9:32.07 but missed out on a fastest loser spot by two places. Eilish McColgan was ninth in her heat in 9:54.36.
Noteworthy casualties from the heats included European champion Gülcan Mingir, who is ranked fifth in the world with 9:13.53 along with world fifth placer Lydia Rotich from Kenya.
UK record-holder Holly Bleasdale qualified for the pole vault final with 4.55m although Kate Dennison didn’t progress.
However, the most noteworthy non-qualifiers were world champion Fabiana Murer and former world record-holder Svetlana Feofanova. Murer found 4.50m insufficient for qualification while Feofanova failed to register a mark.