Athletics

Denise Lewis backs Ennis-Hill's World Championships withdrawal

Ennis-Hill is struggling with an Achilles problem (©GettyImages)
Ennis-Hill is struggling with an Achilles problem (©GettyImages).

Former Olympic champion Denise Lewis believes Jessica Ennis-Hill was right to withdraw from the World Championships in Moscow this month.

Ennis-Hill has struggled with an Achilles injury all season and only made her return to action following her Olympic gold in London last summer at a low-key event in Loughborough last month.

The 27-year-old stepped up her attempts to return to full fitness ahead of the World Championships by competing in the long jump and the hurdles at Anniversary Games in Stratford last weekend, but felt her Achilles problem hadn't sufficiently healed in order for he to challenged for gold in Russia.

Lewis, who won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney says Ennis-Hill has made the right decision to protect herself by not risking further damage.

"Jess has to think about the next few years and the risk of causing further damage," she said.

"You have to ask whether there's more to lose than gain. For Jess, there's more to lose."

The Sheffield-native struggled to find her best form last weekend at the scene of her Olympic triumph 12 months ago, finishing last in the long jump and clocking 13.08 seconds in the 100m hurdles.

"Jess looked better than I had anticipated at the Anniversary Games," Lewis continued. 

"Her time in the hurdles wasn't slow. She would be disappointed with it but most heptathletes would be delighted with that time.

"In the long jump, she achieved 6.26m at Loughborough recently and threw a personal best in the javelin. When you look at the scores from those performances, you think that is someone who could possibly compete.

"But I think she's made a good decision. Everyone else would love to see her compete, but Jess has to think about the next few years."

Lewis herself struggled with an Achilles injury as she battled her way to gold in Sydney 13 years ago, and says she understands the frustrations her successor must be feeling.

"When it comes to major championships, you have to make calculated risks and assess what stage of your career you're at," added the 40-year-old, who retired in 2004.

"For me, going into Sydney, it was almost now or never. I was 28 and it was crunch time. I had to be there regardless of my physical state.

"Jess has her gold medal. It's better she sits this one out, focuses on getting rid of the pain and not doing anything that aggravates it."

Topics:
Jess Ennis
World Championships
Athletics

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