Former Olympic bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton believes gold medal hope Jessica Ennis is in for the toughest heptathlon of her life, but believes she enters the competition in the best possible shape.
Red hot: Athlete Jessica Ennis sports Team GB’s 2012 Olympic kit in London. Pic/Getty Images
The 26-year-old racked up 6,906 points to break the British record in Gotzis, Austria in May and Sotherton, who came third in the 2004 Athens Games, thinks Ennis may have to better that total if she is to win in London. “There are four or five athletes; Tatyana Chernova, Nataliya Dobrynska, Hyleas Fountain and Jessica Zelinka who could steal that glory and it is not as clear-cut as the media would have you believe,” Sotherton told Press Association Sport.
“She is fully aware and it will be a close call but she couldn’t be in any better shape and has every chance of coming back with a pb close to 7,000 points. She will need around that score, weather depending, but she is in that kind of shape. I don’t want to put a medal round her neck as it will add to the pressure, but I believe it will be the hardest heptathlon of her life.” However, Sotherton believes Ennis has the mental strength to deal with the high expectations of the public. There is something different about Olympics compared to other competitions,” she said.
“The fact it is at home only adds to it. She can draw on the home crowd and she will deal with pressure because she is a very special person. The only reason she has this pressure is because the media have her as the golden girl,” she said.