Rio Olympics 2016: Jessica Ennis-Hill relishing heptathlon title defence

Jessica Ennis-Hill
Jessica Ennis-Hill won a second World Championships gold medal in Beijing in 2015

Jessica Ennis-Hill says she will "relish" the opportunity to attempt to become the first British woman to retain an Olympic title in athletics.

She begins her heptathlon defence in Rio on Friday, with the seven-event competition culminating a day later.

"I feel like the odds are a little bit against me because it's a huge thing to achieve," the 30-year-old said.

She will face GB team-mate Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who cites Ennis-Hill's Olympic gold as her inspiration.

"She has inspired me ever since London so that is what I want to do now - to win an Olympic gold," the 23-year-old from Liverpool said.

"Hopefully that's what I can do now. I think everyone has to aim for gold but I'm not going to be disappointed if I just get a medal, it's an Olympic medal."

Katarina Johnson-Thompson
Katarina Johnson-Thompson finished 15th as a 19-year-old at London 2012

Johnson-Thompson was second behind Ennis-Hill after four events at the World Championships in Beijing last year, before she failed to register an attempt in the long jump at the start of the second day and fell away.

She has spent the bulk of her preparation time working on shot put and javelin, two self-confessed weaker disciplines, which are split across the two days in Brazil.

"No matter what happens, it's not going to be an easy night's sleep, it's not done after one day," Johnson-Thompson added. "It's not feet up and kick back, it's going to be a tough time no matter what."

Doing it for Reggie

Ennis-Hill, who ran her second fastest time in the 100m hurdles at the London Anniversary Games last month, has given birth to son Reggie since that gold medal in 2012.

Another title in Rio would see her become only the third athlete - after Australian sprint hurdler Shirley Strickland in 1956 and Cameroon triple-jumper Francoise Mbango Etone in 2008 - to win Olympic gold, have a baby and then return to successfully defend their crown.

"I would love my performances to be great out in Rio, to show him what his mum achieved just two years after he was born," the two-time world champion said.

"I relish this opportunity to go out there and see if I can do something really amazing at this stage in my career.

"I've just got to hold everything together and know that I've done this before and that I can do it again."

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