Rio 2016: Ennis-Hill leads the heptathlon at the half-way mark

An overview of the key moments of action from the first day of the women's Heptathlon in Rio.

Rio 2016: Ennis-Hill leads the heptathlon at the half-way mark
Ennis-Hill leads the pack into the final day of the Heptathlon | Source: BBC

As day one of the Heptathlon comes to a close, Jessica Ennis-Hill currently leads the pack in Rio, as the final standings of the combined events competition will be revealed tomorrow, when the medals are decided.

Current holder of the Heptathlon Olympic gold is Ennis-Hill, following her heroics in the London 2012 games. Taking some time out of the sport as she had her son, Ennis-Hill was back the year after, and shocking on the world stage as she took home the World Championships gold so shortly after returning to the sport. Ennis-Hill looks set to be among the medals once more, as she looked comfortable in the overall standings after the first day of action.

Ennis-Hill glances to coach Toni Minichiello after her hurdle victory. | Source: BBC
Ennis-Hill glances to coach Toni Minichiello after her hurdle victory. | Source: BBC

Ennis-Hill dominates the 100m hurdles

As the morning broke in Rio, so did the beginning of the gruelling Heptathlon competition. The first event of the discipline was the 100m hurdles, taking shape across four heats in which Ennis-Hill won overall with a blistering time of 12.84, clearing the field as she led the way into the second event of the day, the high jump. Also impressing in the hurdles were Barbados’ Akela Jones, and Nadine Visser of the Netherlands, who both finished marginally over the 13 second mark.

Favourites to be among the medals overall; Canada’s Brianne Theisen Eaton, and fellow Brit, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, also performed solidly over the hurdles.

Theisen Eaton clocked in at 13.18 in heat 4, elsewhere in heat 3, Johnson-Thompson finished 2nd in her heat with a fairly weak time of 13.48.

The 23-year-old British heptathlete is naturally stronger in the field events, so it will be expected for her to raise her total away from the track.

Johnson-Thompson reacts to breaking the british record after a jump of 1.98 | Source: getty
Johnson-Thompson reacts to breaking the british record after a jump of 1.98 | Source: getty

Johnson-Thompson raises the bar in the high jump

As mentioned, Johnson-Thompson is renowned for her innate ability in the jumping aspects of the Heptathlon. The British athlete swept to glory in the high jump, taking the lead of the overall standings and moving her disappointing show in the hurdles to the side.

Johnson-Thompson went head to head with Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam, the two athletes under the age of 25 were neck and neck throughout the competition, and neither could take the step ahead as they both eventually settled for a phenomenal height of 1.98. The two young heptathletes proved to be a driving force of inspiration for one another.

Neither were close to the 2.01 mark in truth, but their success in the competition saw the overall standings change, as Johnson-Thompson overtook fellow Brit, Ennis-Hill to sit at the top of the pack after the high jump, Thiam in second – pushing Ennis-Hill to 3rd place by a small margin of points.

Ennis-Hill was eliminated after failing to clear 1.92, she was joined by Barbadian athlete, Akela Jones, the two marked their best jumps at 1.89.

Thiam focuses in the shot put. | Source: Rio 2016
Thiam focuses in the shot put. | Source: Rio 2016

Thiam continues to impress in the shot put

The shot put was next up for the heptathletes, an event that result’s changed the look of the overall standings before the 200m.

Johnson-Thompson dropped down to 6th overall, as two disappointing throws and one foul left her down in 27th place in shot put. Her British teammate, Ennis-Hill moved up to second overall, with a best throw of 13.86m.

Barbados’ Jones also managed to remain with the pack, as she threw the 10th best distance, marking a 14.09m best throw. Germany’s Carolin Schäfer pushed into the top four overall, finishing 5th in the shot put with a solid throw of 14.57m.

The winner overall however was Thiam, the Belgian has massively impressed in the first day of action, the 21-year-old was emotional as it was announced that she had thrown a massive 14.91m to move up to first in the overall standings. 

A day of ups and downs for Johnson-Thompson. | Source: BBC
A day of ups and downs for Johnson-Thompson. | Source: BBC

Johnson-Thompson clocks the fastest 200m time

In the final event of the day in Rio came the 200m. At the start of the event, the overall standings saw a top three of Thiam, Ennis-Hill and Jones.

After storming in the first three events of the day, Thiam stumbled at the 200m, an event that is not particularly highlighted as one of her strengths. The Belgian ran a respectful time of 25.10 by her standards, a time that is not as impressive in the eyes of Ennis-Hill who was aiming to hunt down the gap between the overall 1st and 2nd.

The sound levels inside the stadium reached a new high as Brazilian heptathlete, Vanessa Chefer, stormed to victory in her heat, leaving a considerable gap between herself and second place. The popular figure amongst Brazilian athletics clocked a time of 24.11.

Heat three bared no threat to the peak of the overall leader board. Dutch heptathlete, Anouk Vetter won the heat with a time of 23.93, closely followed by Cuba’s Yorgelis Rodriguez in second.

Ennis-Hill, Johnson-Thompson, Theisen Eaton, Jones and Schäfer featured in the final heat of the 200m. In second place overall going into the event, Ennis-Hill was eager to take the lead before the second day, following Thiam’s flat 200m time.

The British Olympic champion did just that, finishing second in her heat with a time of 23.49. Ennis-Hill finished behind Johnson-Thompson, after her abysmal shot put result, Johnson-Thomspon recorded a time of 23.26, taking her into fourth place overall behind Jones, Thiam and Ennis-Hill.

Can Ennis-Hill go all the way in Rio? | Source: Rio 2016
Can Ennis-Hill go all the way in Rio? | Source: Rio 2016

Ennis-Hill leads after day one

It's up for grabs tomorrow – in the second day of the heptathlon – as just three elements remain before the overall results are concluded. Currently in position to clench a medal are Ennis-Hill, Thiam and Jones.

The long jump, javelin and finale of the 800m come tomorrow for the athletes, will it go down to the wire in the 800m, or will medals be decided before the final event of the day?

We will soon find out as the action continues tomorrow, 10.45am EST.