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Ennis-hill and farah excited for london return

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Jess Ennis-Hill & Mo Farah
26 July 2013

The much anticipated Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games kicks off this evening, and this morning Jessica Ennis-Hill (coach: Toni Minichiello) and Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) found time to pose for photographs by the Tower of London, and discuss what it means to return to the scene of their greatest triumphs tomorrow afternoon.

For Ennis-Hill, just making the event marks a turning point in her season.

“I’m just really glad to be here and competing tomorrow. I wasn’t sure I was going to be here last week, so I’m just glad to have finally got my season started and I’m just looking forward to preparing as best I can.

“I think it’s going to be a good test, firstly to do the hurdles and then to go to the long jump afterwards, which is trying to stimulate what I’ll have to do in Moscow. I was looking forward to coming into this Diamond League and trying to get a good time, but it’s going to be a real test for me now tomorrow.”

Earlier in the week Ennis competed in a low key event in Loughborough where she threw a personal best of 48.33m in the javelin, and jumped 6.26m in the long jump.

“Tuesday was the first test, and coming out from that I had a good response and the achilles didn’t react too badly. The hurdles is obviously the next big test as it’s more explosive, and coming down on my lead leg – which is my damaged achilles –  will test it. It’ll be good to see how it responds the day after, and the day after that.

“I’ve still got pain and it’s just about managing it. It’s definitely improved this week, improved a lot, and I’m happy with the way it’s going, but it’s still painful. I’m going to take a painkiller to try and help a bit, and I’ll have some more support from strapping, but I’m feeling so much better than last week and the week before, and it’s definitely heading in the right direction. I’m just looking forward to seeing how I get on tomorrow, and getting a good indication of where I’m at.

“The last time I hurdled was in the Olympic stadium, and I had that amazing race and have some great memories from that time. Now I’m heading back into the stadium for my first hurdles race of the season, in a completely different situation. I couldn’t have been more ready last year, and I feel like I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum this year, but I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to get ready and I’m going to be there tomorrow, so I’m just going to go out there, give it my all, and see what happens.

Farah was asked whether he will attempt to break the British 3000m record, which is held by Dave Moorcroft and dates all the way back to 1972. Moorcroft’s best of 7.32.79 is the only British record between 1500m and the half marathon that Farah doesn’t possess, but he was reluctant to confirm whether he’d go after this on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m just going to leave you guys guessing! My aim is to win the race. I haven’t thought too much about it yet, but I do know there are pacers in there, so I’ll have a chat with Alberto tonight and we’ll see what he says.

“Both Jess and I have amazing memories of the stadium, so just walking in and getting that kind of reception again will bring back a lot of memories.”

The assembled media were also keen to know whether the double Olympic champion expected to break the British 1500m record last weekend in Monaco, an event which is a lot shorter than his specialist 5000m and 10,000m distances.

“I couldn’t believe it. If you’d have said to me six weeks ago that I’d have run under 3.30 and broke Steve Cram’s record I would never have believed you. But it just shows you, that when you have that confidence, you can surprise yourself.”

The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games will be shown live on BBC2 from 7.30pm on Friday, from 12.45pm on BBC1 on Saturday and from 3pm on Channel 4 on Sunday.