Pressure could affect Ennis, says Chernova
Jessica Ennis’s Olympic rival Tatyana Chernova has warned the British favourite she still faces a mighty task to claim gold in London despite her emphatic heptathlon victory in Gotzis at the weekend.
Ennis set a new British record en route to finishing 132 points clear of the Russian and installed herself back as Olympic favourite having seen Chernova rip away her world title in Daegu last year.
The 26-year-old from Sheffield – who also lost her world pentathlon title to Nataliya Dobrynska in March – answered her critics with a total of 6,906 points, 75 more than the previous record set by Denise Lewis in 2000.
But Chernova insists she still has room for plenty of improvement and has questioned whether Ennis will have the temperament to cope with such a colossal weight of home expectation once the Games get under way.
Chernova said: “If people just look at one girl, it will be very hard for her to compete. I don’t know what is in her mind. But everyone in the stadium will want her to get a result.
“For me there won’t be many Russian fans in the stadium. My country is far from London but I know people will be supporting me back home. It (the atmosphere) will help me because I’m not afraid of anyone.”
Ennis’s coach Toni Minichiello is refusing to get carried away despite watching his charge become only the eighth woman in heptathlon history to score more than 6,900 points.
Minichiello said: “It’s lovely to win but there are 11 weeks to go, 11 weeks of work – or 10... I might give her a week off.”