Ennis-Hill ‘shocked’ by abuse

Published: Thursday 11th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Jessica Ennis-Hill has admitted she was shocked by the abuse she received on social media after saying she did not want Sheffield United to sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.

The Olympic heptathlon champion received threatening messages via Twitter last month, with one user writing he hoped Evans raped Ennis-Hill, after saying she would want her name removed from a stand at Bramall Lane if Evans returned.

Ennis-Hill spoke out after United accepted a request from the Professional Footballers’ Association to allow Evans to train with his former club following the striker’s release from prison, midway through a five-year sentence. United later withdrew the offer.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Ennis-Hill said of the abuse: “It was definitely a shock. It was not very nice to read them but unfortunately that’s the world we live in.

“You kind of have to keep focused on who you are and what you believe in, and try not to read too much into it.

“You can’t spend hours going through your Twitter feed and reading everything every single person says to you. You need to get on with your life.”

Ennis-Hill was one of several high-profile figures to enter the debate over Evans after United initially said he would be allowed to train. TV presenter Charlie Webster, 1960s pop star Dave Berry and health adviser Lindsay Graham all stood down as club ambassadors during the row.

“I knew I was in a position where I was going to upset someone whether I said something or didn’t,” Ennis-Hill said. “With my stand at Sheffield United and the association I have with the club, I really just wanted to voice my opinion.

“It wasn’t about putting pressure on the club or anything like that – it was just simply about how I felt. I think people can be rehabilitated and if they have served time in jail can go back into society, but I just feel that when you are in a really privileged position it’s quite different.”

Ennis-Hill, 28, is now focused on getting back into competitive shape after giving birth to her son Reggie in July, and she is hoping to defend her Olympic title in Rio in 2016.

“It’s hard getting up when you have not had much sleep but I really want to have this last push in my career,” she said of her return to training. “I’m looking forward to the Olympics, I really want to be there and want to be a contender and that’s what keeps me motivated.

“I have two years to get the work done and get where I was, I’m still the competitive person I was and I really hope I can contend for a gold medal.

“London 2012 was fantastic and it will be very hard to top, but if I am able to get work done and get to Rio and win a gold medal having had a child, that would be unbelievable.”

Published: Thursday 11th December 2014 by The News Editor

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