Britain’s Jessica Ennis-Hill leads the heptathlon after the first two events with compatriot Katarina Johnson-Thompson 30 points back in second after a dramatic morning in the Bird’s Nest.
Three years on from being crowned Olympic champion in London and 13 months after the birth of son Reggie, Ennis-Hill wasted no time reminding a global audience of her class.
The pair have not faced each other in multi-event competition since Ennis-Hill ran away with gold at London 2012 with a huge score of 6,955 points.
An inconsistent performance from Johnson-Thompson started with two failed jumps at 1.80m, but long debates with her coach and minor adjustments to the approach helped the 22-year-old improved enough to eventually pass 1.90m.
American Barbara Nwaba suffered a painful start to the championships, meanwhile, smashing into the second hurdle and bravely picking herself before crumpling in a heap once more after hitting the fourth with a fierce thud. Johnson-Thompson, assuming she is over her knee and quad injuries, will be looking to win gold, buoyed by her European indoor pentathlon success back in March.
“Definitely there’s a sense that the year hasn’t gone quite to plan and if I was building on Prague it should be a really good battle with Jess”, said Johnson-Thompson.
“In 2012 I was definitely very focused just wanting to do everything right and not make any mistakes”. Ramonene wound up last at the London Olympics among those who finished.
“I was quite sure I wanted Reggie to stay at home”, she told BBC Sport.
With the run-up to the 2015 World Championships being marred by accusations of widespread drug use in the sport, she said: “It is depressing”. “It’s just that competition practice I am missing”.
Jessica Ennis-Hill has claimed the overall lead in the heptathlon after finishing behind British rival Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the high jump.
Ennis-Hill has said that just making it into the Great Britain team for the World Championships is a bonus in a season where qualifying for next year’s Rio Olympics was the only stated aim. “It was really disappointing and hard for both of us but it’s kind of been made up for in the years that followed”. “But I could never imagine I would go on to win what I won in the following years and be in the situation I am now”.
Johnson-Thompson, who has jumped 1.97m indoors this year, salvaged 1.89m from the high jump despite struggling badly with her run-up.
“I feel fit and healthy and injury free but I don’t know what the competition will be like”, she admits on the eve of her second World Championships. So it’s definitely nerve-racking for me but I can be thankful that I am 100 per cent not injured. So yeah, we watched it together and, obviously, saw bits of other events but it was a really hard time.
Back then Ennis-Hill feared her career might be over and that she “didn’t want to be that athlete who gets an bad injury and you never hear of her again”.