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Ennis Heads for Gateshead

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Jessica Ennis with flag
Ennis - First ever appearance at Gateshead

24 August 2009

Following her gold medal performance at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, heptathlete Jessica Ennis confirmed today that she will race at the Aviva British Grand Prix on August 31. The only female gold medallist amongst the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team in Berlin, she will make her UK debut as World champion at the Gateshead International Stadium in the 100m hurdles

With a stunning performance over the first weekend of the World Championships, Ennis established herself as one of the best multi-eventers of recent times. Leading the field from start to finish, she won the heptathlon by an incredible 238 points; the third largest winning margin in World Championship history. Casting aside memories of the injury that ruled her out of the Olympics last summer, she brought home the team’s first medal of the Championships and her total score of 6,731 points was not only a personal best, it placed her second on the all-time British list behind former Olympic Champion Denise Lewis.

Following her Berlin success, Ennis is now scheduled to make her first ever appearance at the Gateshead International Stadium, where she will run the 100m hurdles. Her best time in the event is only one hundredth of a second shy of the national record, set in 1996 by Angie Thorpe. Having recently won the national title at the Aviva World Trials and UK Championships, Ennis is looking forward to her Gateshead debut.

“To come back to the UK from Berlin as a medallist is fantastic for me.  It’s the icing on the cake of a really good season and, hopefully, I can really finish on a high”, said Ennis.

"I am really looking forward to getting up to Gateshead because I have never been there before, so I haven’t got any memories of it. It will all be new to me, but I can’t wait. To perform in front of a British crowd will be fantastic!”

Ennis will be joined in Gateshead by Ryan Braithwaite from the Barbados, the new 110m hurdles World Champion. He will again find himself facing the USA’s David Payne, who he beat into third place last night with a time of 13.14 secs. Payne is looking forward to the opportunity of facing his nemesis again.

“I haven’t raced in Gateshead before, so I’m looking forward to going there. Hopefully, I’ll put in a strong performance”, said the 27-year old.

Also competing at the Aviva British Grand Prix will be 400m hurdler Melaine Walker of Jamaica, who added the World Championship title to the Olympic gold she won last year in Beijing. Walker, who set an Olympic record of 52.64 secs last year, posted the second fastest time in history on her way to gold on Thursday night; recording 52.42 secs. She will be joined in Gateshead by World Championship bronze medallist Josanne Lucas from Trinidad & Tobago.

Alonso Edwards, the new 200m World silver medallist, has also declared his intention to run at the Aviva British Grand Prix. The 19-year old man from Panama posted a time of 19.81 secs in the event final, coming second only to the incredible world record performance of Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who won in 19.19 secs.

Tickets for the Aviva British Grand Prix at Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead on Monday 31st August are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.uka.org.uk