Ennis is disappointed by stadium delay

HAPPY MEMORIES: Jessica Ennis after winning gold this summer

HAPPY MEMORIES: Jessica Ennis after winning gold this summer

First published in Athletics & Olympic Sports

JESSICA ENNIS has called the delays to the re-opening of the Olympic Stadium “a huge shame” after the revelation the venue may stay closed until 2016.

Ennis won heptathlon gold in London in August but it may be four more years before she can compete there again.

West Ham have been named preferred bidder to become tenants, but the London Legacy Development Corporation have said the stadium will not open before 2015 and maybe as late as 2016.

UK Athletics have called the delay “a farce” – they wanted to stage events next summer – and Ennis said all athletes would be disappointed.

The 26-year-old, from Sheffield, who has emerged as one of the bookmakers’ top three favourites to be named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday, said: ‘‘It’s a huge shame because we put on such a great show in that stadium and it does seem a long time to wait.

‘‘It was such a great stadium to be in and an amazing atmosphere and I would just love to see those crowds back in there.

‘‘We have the 2017 World Championships there which is great, but I think all the athletes would love to see it being used before then.’’ Last year’s controversial Sports Personality award shortlist did not feature a single woman, but this time Ennis – who finished third in 2009 and 2010 – is one of five on the 12-strong list.

She added: ‘‘I think after the disappointment of last year of not seeing a single female in the top ten, what British women have done in sport this year has been amazing.

‘‘To have five women on the shortlist is incredible but it’s fully deserved.’’ Tour de France winning cyclist Bradley Wiggins is the favourite ahead of double Olympic champion Mo Farah, but there has been a surge of bets on Ennis. However, she is not getting carried away.

‘‘I’m not even thinking about it to be honest,’’ she said. ‘‘There’s so many factors flying around that it’s so hard to call it, especially this year where everyone has done so well.”

Ennis has also launched herself back into training, something she admits was an effort given the weather, and she suffered ‘‘brain freeze’’ at an icy Don Valley stadium.

To keep her going, she has the memories of that Super Saturday night in the Olympic Stadium when she earned herself a permanent place in a nation’s hearts.

She added: ‘‘To be able to experience the Olympic Games on that level and in your own country was something else.

‘‘I often think back to those days I was doing the event, especially the Saturday night, and it just makes me smile again.’’

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