2 June 2008
Jessica Ennis’ (City of Sheffield) hopes of making her Olympic debut in Beijing this summer have been dashed after a scan on Monday revealed that she has a fracture in her right ankle.
The 22 year old withdrew from the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting in Gotiz, Austria at the weekend after the first day of the heptathlon after feeling some pain in the joint.
On her return home, she undertook CT and MRI scans at the Olympic Medical Institute where a fracture was revealed. As yet it is unclear as to whether the break occurred in competition or earlier in training. Ennis, who is based at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, will embark on an immediate rehabilitation programme.
Ennis was 4th in the heptathlon at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, with 6469 points. Already in 2008, she had made significant improvements to her personal bests in the shot (13.52m) and javelin (43.08m).
Following the scan Ennis said: "I'm obviously upset with the results and I'm gutted to be missing out on my first Olympics, but injury is part of life as a heptathlete. I am determined to make a full and speedy recovery from this and enjoy a long athletics career."
UK Athletics Performance Director Dave Collins said: “This is nothing but terrible luck and is a sickening blow for Jess. Obviously with the Olympic Games just a matter of weeks away, the timing could not have been more cruel.
"I have every confidence that Jess has the physical ability, talent and mental toughness to move on from this and look forward to a long and successful career in the sport. We are all gutted for her.”
Ennis' coach Toni Minichiello added: "I'm deeply, deeply disappointed by what the scans have shown us today. There was nothing in Jessica's training or in her PB performances that we've seen over the last few weeks to indicate that an injury of this nature was present.
Jess is still only 22 years old and has a long athletics career that will sadly not include the 2008 Olympics but will include London 2012 and the 2016 Games."
Ennis' Norwich Union GB & NI team mate Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield Harriers) expressed her disappointed for her British rival:
"I'm utterly speechless. I can't even begin to imagine how Jess must be feeling now; I know that I would be devastated. This is a really cruel blow for her and I'm so sorry that she won't be out competing with me in Beijing but she is a strong athlete and I wish her all the very best for a speedy recovery"