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Pregnant Ennis out of CGames

2014-01-10 15:34
Jessica Ennis-Hill (Gallo Images)

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London - Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill announced on Friday she is pregnant and will miss the Commonwealth Games.

"I am sorry I won't be in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games, but know it will be an amazing occasion. I will be at home awaiting the arrival of a little Ennis-Hill," she said.

The child will be the first for the 27-year-old athlete and her husband Andy Hill, who wed last year.

Ennis-Hill, one of the poster girls of the 2012 London Olympic Games, said she hoped to return to training after the birth and compete at the Rio Games in 2016.

"We are completely overwhelmed, with excitement and a degree of anxiety that I am sure all first-time parents will relate to," she said in a statement.

"My plans for 2014 have been completely turned upside down, but having had a couple of weeks to think about things from a career point of view I am 100 percent set on returning to full-time athletics once our baby is born and go for a second gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016 - that challenge really excites me.

"But in the short term I will make our baby a priority and enjoy the whole experience as much as possible."

While several female athletes have returned to high-level competition after giving birth, fellow British heptathlete Louise Hazel questioned if Ennis-Hill could do so while remaining in the seven-discipline event.

"Is it possible to be an elite sportswoman and have a baby? Yes. Is it possible to come back from Olympic gold as a heptathlete and go on to Rio... it throws a huge question over the continuation of a career as a heptathlete and that's just being realistic.

"I think she'll be able to come back and compete. The question is: in what event?," Hazel said.

"Will she be able to get back to the same form she's been showing in recent years and be competitive?," added Hazel, the Commonwealth Games title-holder who won in Delhi in 2010, when Ennis-Hill did not compete.

"You have to look at people like (England's) Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who's been breaking Jess's junior records non-stop," said Hazel, who has since retired from heptathlon but is looking to continue her athletics career in other events.

Ennis-Hill's absence deprives Glasgow of one its major crowd bankers amid ongoing doubts over the participation of her fellow London 2012 gold medallists Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprint star, and Mo Farah, the British long-distance runner.

Meanwhile the Glasgow 2014 Twitter feed responded to her announcement by saying: "Congratulations to Glasgow2014 ambassador @J_Ennis & husband Andy on the exciting news that they're expecting their first child."

Gold in the Commonwealth Games has so far eluded Ennis-Hill, who took bronze in 2006 in Melbourne behind fellow Englishwoman Kelly Sotherton.

Ennis-Hill went on to win the 2010 European Championships before taking silver at the following year's World Championships behind Tatyana Chernova.

However, she made light of the pressure of being a local favourite in London with a personal best points score as he took Olympic gold in commanding style.

However, Ennis-Hill has made few competitive appearances since the Olympics and missed last year's World Championships in Moscow with an Achilles injury.

Read more on:    commonwealth games  |  athletics

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