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Page last updated at 19:04 GMT, Saturday, 31 July 2010 20:04 UK

Jessica Ennis claims European heptathlon gold

European Athletics Championships 2010
Venue: Barcelona Dates: 27 July - 1 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC HD, BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Sport website (UK users only); Live coverage on BBC Radio 5 live; Full highlights on iPlayer and highlights of the biggest events on demand online (UK only) Full details

Jessica Ennis

How Ennis won European heptathlon gold

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis won European heptathlon gold after dominating the 800m finale to fend off her closest rival Nataliya Dobrynska.

Ennis ran 2 minutes 10.18 seconds, 2.12sec ahead of second-placed Ukrainian Dobrynska, to rack up a championship record 6,823 points total.

Olympic champion Dobrynska, who needed to beat Ennis by 1.2sec to strike gold, was 45 points adrift to claim silver.

German Jennifer Oeser took bronze with a total of 6,683 points.

Ennis's gold was one of three for Britain on Saturday, and there were two silver medals as well.

GB's total of 16 medals overall is one more than head coach Charles van Commenee's stated target, with a day remaining in the championships.

Jessica Ennis

Ennis 'proud' to win European gold

"It's been nerve-wracking having all the athletes on my heels," admitted Ennis, who led the competition from start to finish but was pushed all the way by Dobrynska.

"It feels so good to win again. I had to raise my game, and I'm so proud to come out on top again.

"Before the 800m I just wanted to win and I have! I'm so made up."

Earlier, Dobrynska cut Ennis's overnight lead of 110 points to 18 after strong performances in the long jump and javelin.

World champion Ennis produced consistent leaps of 6.28m, 6.41m and 6.43m - just 8cm short of her personal best - in the first discipline of the day, the long jump.

But 28-year-old Dobrynska jumped 6.56m in her second round - 7cm down on her own best mark - to close the gap on Ennis to 68 points.

In the javelin, Ennis threw a personal best 46.71m, however, Dobrynska continued to apply pressure on the Sheffield athlete with a throw of 49.25m.

I'm a little bit afraid for her because we're still two years away from 2012

BBC pundit Michael Johnson

The 24-year-old Briton, though, showed why she was expected to stave off Dobrynska's challenge in the 800m finale when she stormed to the front of the field from the gun.

The Ukrainian briefly went ahead going into the final bend but Ennis reasserted her authority on the race before eventually storming down the home straight to win in a season-best time.

Jessica Ennis

Ennis throws lifetime best in javelin

Her gold-winning personal best total surpasses Swede Carolina Kluft's 2006 championship-best mark by 83 points but was a mere eight shy of former Olympic champion Denise Lewis's British record.

"It would have been good to have broken the British record but before the 800 I just wanted to win," reflected Ennis.

"There's a lot of pressure and expectation but I'm so happy with myself how I dealt with it."

In two years' time, that pressure is likely to be significantly greater as she goes for gold at the London 2012 Olympics.


And BBC pundit Michael Johnson, who achieved the 200-400m sprint double in his native United States at the 1996 Atlanta Games, believes Ennis faces a delicate balancing act in her preparations for the London Games.

"As I think about the opportunity that Jessica Ennis has with 2012 coming, I'm a little bit afraid for her because we're still two years away," said Johnson. "You've got to keep everything together.

Jessica Ennis

Ennis confident after long jump

"What she'll have to do is take it one step at a time and now focus on next year's World Championships, not get too ahead of herself and have those goals in between now and 2012.

"It will be a phenomenal opportunity for her to participate in an Olympic Games on home soil, when it's all coming right, when she's at the peak of her career. She's doing everything right at this point.

"She's got a very level head, she knows what she wants, she's a very focused individual. I don't worry about [distractions], I just worry about injury and that sort of thing."

Jessica Ennis

Ennis wins 800m to claim heptathlon gold

Saturday's results in full from European Athletics

Latest medal table

see also
Euro athletics day five photos
31 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Farah wins second European gold
31 Jul 10 |  Athletics
GB pair win hurdles gold & silver
31 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Lewis-Francis accepts relay blame
31 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Ennis extends lead in heptathlon
30 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Ennis leads heptathlon after day one
30 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Ennis beats rivals in high jump
30 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Ennis impresses in 100m hurdles
30 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Ennis confident heading into day two
30 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Euro Champs day-by-day guide
26 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Euro Athletics predictions
26 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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