August 18, 2009
Jessica Ennis, athlete with strong Jamaican ties
Elton Tucker, Assistant Sport Editor
Thirty minutes before Usain Bolt's 'out of this world' run in the men's 100 metres final at the Berlin Olympic Stadium on Sunday night, another athlete with strong Jamaican ties was celebrating victory in the gruelling two-day women's heptathlon event.
Wrapped in a British flag, Jessica Ennis soaked in the adulation of the crowd after a personal best 6,731 points to take gold and her first world title at the 12th IAAF World Cham-pionships in Athletics.
The 23-year-old has strong Jamaican ties. Her father is from Linstead in St Catherine and her mother is an Englishwoman. Vinnie Ennis, who Jessica says is now in his late 50s, migrated to England more than 40 years ago at age 13.
Both Vinnie Ennis and his wife, Alison, took a keen interest in sport and made sure their daughter shared their interest.
"My mom and dad, they kind of introduced me to athletics and took me down to summer camp in my home city of Sheffield."
Ennis, who has never been to Jamaica, was still celebrating when Bolt produced his 9.58 seconds victory.
"To be on the track when Bolt won was great," she said. "It was a really pretty good evening."
Ennis has shown gradual improvement over the past four years. In 2006, she won a bronze medal at the Common-wealth Games in Melbourne before a fourth-place finish in Osaka at the 2007 World Championships.
There was despair for Ennis and her family last year as she missed the Beijing Olympics because of a fractured ankle, but the agony did not last long. A year later, she is on top of the world.
Ennis led all the way in the event, getting most points in the 100m hurdles, high jump and 200 metres.