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Ennis takes Silver in Istanbul

Jessica Ennis - Istanbul 2012

Jessica Ennis - Istanbul 2012

On Friday evening at the Atakoy Athletics Arena in Istanbul, Turkey, the Aviva GB & NI team celebrated their first medal of the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships campaign.

Jessica Ennis (Toni Minichiello) took silver in the women’s pentathlon following two tough final events, but was able to celebrate a significant indoor PB and national record with her total points count of 4965, 48 points behind the gold medal winning Natalya Dobrynska on a world record of 5013.

Although disappointing for the World silver medallist who clearly made the trip to Turkey with her eyes firmly on gold, it was a strong performance from Ennis who once again demonstrated she can continue to improve her individual disciplines across the board.

However the toughest test came in the fourth event of the day– the long jump, Ennis was well down on her usual best and her furthest leap of 6.19m was seventh best from the pentathlon field. This resulted in Ennis slipping to third place in the overall standings behind Dobrynska and Lithuania’s Austra Skujyte.

In the fifth and final event, the 800m, Ennis had a near hopeless task of having to ensure a six second gap ahead of Dobrynska if she was to stand any hope of retaining the title. As it was, the Olympic champion was able to track Ennis throughout the race and the GB star was unable to put enough distance in between herself and the Ukrainian to steal a last minute victory.

She said: “I’m absolutely gutted but at the same time I’m pleased with a PB and a national record so I can’t grumble too much.

“Next week I am going to take a bit of a break then get back into it and work on what I can and come back stronger in the summer.

“I need to make sure I learn from these experiences, get it right and turn silver into gold this summer.”

Earlier in the programme, in the men’s 60m Dwain Chambers (Self coached) ignored ongoing dramas concerning the start gun acoustics that were befalling the Atakoy Arena, causing some notable athletes to struggle to get away cleanly in the sprints.

He was away sharply in his, the last of the eight heats, and crossed the line in 6.65secs to make simple work of progressing to Saturday night’s semi final.

“It’s a bit tricky for everyone considering what’s going on with the starts. Actually I thought I’d false started but you hear the echo of the gun. But you just have to be professional and do your job,” he reasoned.

In the heats of the men’s 3000m, Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) qualified for Sunday’s final, finishing second in 7:57.59, in what was a last lap burn up in a slowly run heat. Kenya’s Augustine Choge was just a tenth ahead for first place.

After, the world 5000m champion said: “That was very exciting and I’m looking forward to the final. It’s going to be a great race, I’ve just got to go and rest now.”

Earlier in the day, Aviva GB & NI team captain Tiffany Porter (James Henry) went in the first round of the women’s 60m hurdles  and looked relaxed in winning her heat in 8.00secs to progress to Saturday’s semi final stage.

“I’m focusing right now on competing and I’m very glad to be here to do my best tomorrow in the final,” she said.

“It was good as it’s all about advancing and qualifying so I’m happy I was able to do that.”

Australia’s reigning world champion Sally Pearson was the pick of the qualifiers with an easy looking 7.85secs to win the first heat.

In the Women’s 400m semi finals, Nadine Okyere (Joe Caines) finished fourth in her race in 53.66, but Shana Cox, (Lloyd Cowan) booked her place in Saturday’s final with another front running performance to win her race in 52.69.

Cox said: “I’m feeling good, relieved, and glad that the first two rounds are over! I can go on to the final now and have some fun.”

However in the Men’s 400m, both Nigel Levine (Linford Christie) and Richard Buck (Steve Fudge) exited the competition, finishing third in their respective semi finals.