Jessica Ennis-Hill fired a major warning to her Olympic rivals on Sunday by producing her best heptathlon performance since London 2012.
The 30-year-old, competing in the seven-event discipline for the first time since landing gold at last summer's World Championships, won the Stadtwerke Ratingen Mehrkampf-Meeting in Germany with a score of 6,733 points, 64 more than the tally which earned her the global title in Beijing.
The total, accumulated in monsoon conditions so bad they forced the final event, the 800 metres, to be delayed, was only 32 points off Canadian Brianne Theisen-Eaton's world-leading score.
This showing, in only her third heptathlon since London 2012, was emphatic proof that Ennis-Hill is back fit and firing after the Achilles injury she picked up over the winter, which ruled her out of the indoor season and forced her to withdraw from last month's prestigious Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis.
Indeed, with seven weeks to go before the athletics programme gets under way in Rio, the mother of one has established herself once again as a serious contender to defend her Olympic title.
The Sheffield athlete began the second day of competition with a major statement of intent, leaping out to 6.63m in the long jump.
It was a personal best by 12 centimetres and fully 15cm further than she jumped at the London Olympics.
She threw just short of her season's best in the javelin with 44.37m before finishing with a time of two minutes 11.46 seconds over two laps to win by 2,257 points from German Carolin Shafer of Germany.
On Saturday, also in awful weather, she had recorded her best results in the shot put (14.29m) and 200m (23.36secs) since London 2012. She also clocked 13.13s in the 100m hurdles and 1.84m in the high jump.
Denise Lewis, 2000 Olympic heptathlon champion, said on the BBC that Ennis-Hill's performance had made her favourite for gold in Rio.
"Yes, Jess has had her injury problems," she said. "Almost inevitably athletes don't pick the right decisions. With Jess Ennis-Hill, she always makes the right decisions.
"She competes when she is ready.
"The performances she has produced are testament to the decisions she does make.
"I am quietly confident about her chances (in Rio).
"For me, the most impressive thing was the long jump. The long jump for Jess has been so temperamental over the last few years.
"But this is a personal best after all the great things we have seen from her. A 6.63m personal best is outstanding. It bodes well for the future.
"At the Olympics, you have to navigate seven events and the heptathlon is not easy. But she is definitely the favourite for me."
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