Jessica Ennis to launch outdoor season at Deansgate’s Powerade GreatCity Games

By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent

Jessica Ennis will start her 2012 outdoor season here in Manchester at the Powerade Great CityGames as she ramps up her preparation for the London 2012 Olympics.

Heptathlete Ennis will compete in the 100m hurdles on the temporary street circuit at Deansgate on Sunday 20 May.

The 26-year-old is looking forward to returning to Manchester after competing in last year’s CityGames.

 “The crowd and atmosphere have always been so welcoming and supportive in Manchester.”

“The street athletics is a fantastic event, it’s so different from stadium meetings, which is so refreshing for me,” she said.

Securing Ennis’ participation in this event is no mean feat, with the Sheffield born 26-year-old confirming she will be ‘very selective’ of which tournaments she competes at in Olympic year.

“This season is such a short season which makes Manchester so important for me as part of my Olympic preparations,” she added.

Ennis is one of over a dozen elite athletes that will compete at the track, having won several Olympic and World Championships medals between them.  

She is remaining positive despite losing both her World indoor title to Tatyana Chernova in Daegu last year.

“Of course coming second is always disappointing, however we’ve lots of positives.  Any defeat is going to make you focus and work that little bit harder, but I don’t dwell on it,” she said.

Ennis, the reigning European champion came agonisingly close to setting a new British record in Barcelona two years ago where she missed Denise Lewis’ benchmark by juts eight points.

For the uninitiated, the heptathlon is a multi-discipline track and field event combing the 100m hurdles, shot put, javelin, high jump, long jump, 200m sprint and 800m run.

Ennis has been working hard over the winter to improve her javelin throw and long jump, two areas where she admits needed improvement.

She said: “I’m really happy with how it’s progressing and hope to see some better results this season. The long jump has already produced an indoor PB and it’s all about making it more consistent.”

The Great CityGames is in its third year in Manchester and it is hoped that the extra publicity on athletics in the build-up to London 2012 can help produce a record turn out from the public.

Last year, there were home victories for the likes of Andy Turner, Mark Lewis-Francis and Jeanette Kwakye in the hurdles and sprints.

International starts including Tyson Gay, Danielle Caruthers and Allyson Felix were also triumphant on a drizzly day in Manchester.

As with the previous Great CityGames, it is entirely free to watch.  BBC Two will be broadcasting live from Deansgate if you cannot attend.

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