The news of Jessica Ennis‘s shocking plunge in the javelin had somewhat started settling in and British fans still numb braced themselves for one more day short of a gold medal as the defending champion turned up in the final act of the heptathlon, the 800m, on a mission impossible rather than an anticipated effective double lap of honour. Her worst spear competition since 2007 spelled that she needed to conjure up a six second margin on Tatiana Chernova out of somewhere to overturn the situation, with the Russian holding a better PB over the distance as well.

A new thing that Ennis introduced to the athletics world in Daegu is her doing things wrong; even her! None will probably get to know what happened to her that morning. It’s beyond perception. Like none may comprehend why she pursued the impossible, or at least a slight consolation out of it all, the way she did. A frantic first 200m in 28.3 secs, a pace good enough for the likes of Jenny Meadows, followed by a 60.88 secs split through 400m meant that she had blown even that fighting chance of hers as she wasn’t ever going to sustain that pace round the second lap and Chernova had slotted in second holding a grip on the affair from a safe distance. On the off-possibility that she attempted to draw the Russian into a trap of following closely to falter bad in the later stages her plan had quickly fallen apart.

A better plan might have been to go out at a more even pace, say 30-61 rather than that 28-high 60 secs, that could set her up nicely for a faster time around 2:05 and with a, still remote but greater, chance to pose questions on Chernova and even trick her into a wrong move that could compromise her lead watching the Briton steadily pulling further away over the third 200m. That would be really interesting to see. At any rate, a final PB of 2:07.81 secs and a total of 6751pts for silver, a 121pts down on the Russian’s PB and world-leading mark, still represented a highy commendable performance and the smile restored on her face meant that she felt like herself again, knowing that she can strike back next summer in London. That first defeat after three years will burn inside and Ennis will be fired up to demonstrate that she is the finest.

Louise Hazell almost caught her PB in a 2:15.44, her second fastest ever, for sixth in the second heat to wrap up and excellent campaign that totalled 6149pts, slightly outside her PB and her third highest ever. With some pointed tweaks through the winter, she could be definitely emerge on the way to a top eight placing in London.

Final Standings

As fortune often has it, at the moment that a golden hope withered away another blossomed out in the shape of European champion Dai Greene who delivered an awesome display of impeccable and assured hurdling to cruise home a comprehensive winner ahead of great Felix Sanchez (DOM) in the second semifinal in 48.62 secs, trotting off the final hurdle to the line. On top of that, double world champion Kerron Clement failed to qualify trailing way off behind in last in just 52.11 secs to sum up a very poor season by his own standards while Olympic champion Angelo Taylor made it only as a fastest loser in 48.86 secs from the first heat and draw the inside lane in the final to substantially boost the Welshman’s stakes as a potential successor to the throne. Of course, Taylor has done it again from lane one but his form doesn’t quite recommend he can bring it off again this time – though that might change.

European U23 champion Jack Green came home fifth in 49.62 secs from lane two in the first semifinal and age group British champion Nathan Woodward put in a brave fight round the track before fading off to sixth in the closing stages of the last heat on the far end of a long season to underline the quality of the next British generation coming swiftly through on the international stage. All things equal, both could follow Greene’s trail to the final of the Olympics in London next summer.