17 August 2009

Department Graduate wins Heptathlon Gold

Jessica Ennis at the World Championships 2009 in Berlin

Jessica Ennis (BA Psychology 2007) has won Britain's first ever Heptathlon gold at the Athletics World Championships in Berlin. Jessica led the event from start to finish, beating Germany's Jennifer Oeser by 238 points.

Previous British successes in the competition include Kelly Sotherton's bronze in 2007 and Denise Lewis's world championship silver medals in 1997 and in 1999.

Jessica was born in Sheffield and attended King Ecgbert School in the Dore area of the city.

While studying Psychology at the University of Sheffield, Jessica needed some flexibility from her department in order to pursue her dream.

"The Psychology Department was really supportive of me during my three years there," says Jessica. "It was especially hard in the third year when I was working on my dissertation. I had to balance my academic work with training and technical work. I train six days a week, but luckily the degree was flexible in that I didn't have to spend lots of time sitting in lectures. I'm really glad I did it. I met lots of people, and the University was a great help with funding when I competed at the World University Championships."

Jessica has had to overcome injury and disappointment in recent years, missing out on the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the result of a stress fracture of her right ankle.