Ennis-Hill not a target for KJT

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Published: Monday 11th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson will not use the returning Jessica Ennis-Hill as a target when the pair clash in the heptathlon, according to her coach.

Mike Holmes said to treat the Olympic champion as someone to shoot down would be akin to “kicking the queen in the shins”.

Johnson-Thompson has taken advantage of her compatriot’s near two-year absence to establish herself as the new dominant force in multi-eventing, finishing 2014 as world number one and smashing Ennis-Hill’s British record to win pentathlon gold at the European Indoor Championships in March.

“I think someone called her the silent assassin because she looks so sweet and innocent,” Holmes said of Johnson-Thompson. “Anyone who’s alongside her knows that’s not the case.”

Holmes revealed he does his best to get the Liverpool athlete “fired up” with “little digs” until she’s “absolutely raving”. But he insisted he would not use Ennis-Hill as ammunition to motivate the 22-year-old.

“You don’t rock up and try and take on Jess, because it’s like kicking the queen in the shins, you just don’t do it,” Holmes said.

“And they get on so well, so I don’t think I’d use Jess like a cattle prod in Kat’s case. We’ve got the utmost respect, total respect.”

The prospect of the pair going head to head over seven events is a mouth-watering one, even if there are now major doubts over whether that will happen, as was scheduled, in Gotzis at the end of the month.

Ennis-Hill’s coach Toni Minichiello said the Sheffield athlete would only compete if she was 100 per cent ready for the gruelling challenge following her first race since the birth of her son Reggie – indeed her first in 22 months – in Manchester on Saturday, which saw the 29-year-old clock 13.14 seconds to finish third over the 100 metres hurdles at the Great CityGames.

And Johnson-Thompson’s coach Mike Holmes rated the likelihood of his charge going at only “70/30”.

He said the focus for the Liverpool athlete, who ran 25.31secs for second in the 200m hurdles in Manchester, was firmly on the World Championships in Beijing in August, adding that she had also been troubled by a minor knee niggle after the European Indoors.

“Last year Gotzis was the only game in town, but this year it’s all about Beijing,” Holmes said.

“To come out continuously with people taking pot shots at her can get a bit wearing.”

Published: Monday 11th May 2015 by The News Editor

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