Ennis-Hill encouraged after ending two-year absence

Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill finished third in the 100 metres hurdles as she returned to the track for the first time in almost two years in Manchester on Saturday.

Ennis-Hill, who took time off from athletics to become a mother, won the 2012 Olympic heptathlon and has set her sights on defending that title in Rio next year despite her lengthy absence.

The 29-year-old Briton took the first step towards that goal at the Great CityGames by clocking a time of 13.14 seconds.

Ennis-Hill was racing on a purpose-built track in front of her nine-month-old son Reggie and hordes of spectators, who gave her a huge cheer when introduced to the crowd for the first time in 22 months.

On that occasion, in the Anniversary Games at London’s Olympic Stadium, Ennis-Hill recorded a time of 13.08sec, so she was encouraged by her return performance in cold conditions and into a headwind.

“It was really good to be back,” said Ennis-Hill, who finished behind Tiffany Porter, who claimed a dominant victory in 12.86sec, and second placed Lucy Hatton.

“I feel like it’s a starting point now. I feel like I can build on that.

“I’m always going to be disappointed. I know I am capable of running a lot faster, but I hit a hurdle. I feel like I’m lacking race sharpness.

“I’m happy to come away with that, I can build on it.”

Ennis-Hill, whose preparation had been disrupted by minor achilles niggles, is due to make her heptathlon return in Austria at the end of the month.

“Now I can go away, get race sharp and put some more training together and see what I can do in a few weeks’ time,” she said.

“To not have raced for so long, I need to be in more races more often and be lining up against girls like that and be in that environment again.

“That will come with doing more races, so I’m quite happy. I feel really good.”

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