News29 Mar 2012

Pre-Olympic showdown: Chernova, Ennis and Dobrynska to clash in Gotzis - IAAF Combined Events Challenge


Tatyana Chernova and Jessica Ennis in Daegu (© Getty Images)

The women’s Heptathlon competition at the IAAF Combined Events meeting in Götzis promises to be the highlight of the Hypo-Meeting in the Austrian region of Voralberg. The organizers of the most famous Combined Events meeting in the world have announced that Jessica Ennis, Natalya Dobrynska and Tatyana Chernova, known as the big-three of women’s Heptathlon, will square off in the legendary Mösle Stadium in Götzis on 26 - 27 May 2012.

The Austrian meeting is set to be the re-match of the recent IAAF World Indoor Championships where Ukrainian reigning Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska emerged from the shadows of the much-hyped battle between European champion and 2009 World champion Jessica Ennis and Daegu 2011 World champion Tatyana Chernova from Russia to win the greatest women’s indoor Pentathlon competition in history with the new World Indoor record of 5013 points. Dobrynska, Olympic champion in Beijing, cancelled the long-standing World record held by Irina Belova (4991 points) since 1992.

Ennis had to settle for the silver medal two years after the gold she won in Doha but produced the best indoor performance in her career scoring a new British record of 4965 points. Chernova, who famously beat Ennis last year at the World Championships in Daegu, finished out of the podium in fifth place despite a great score of 4725 points.

Dobrynska, Ennis and Chernova won the last four major outdoor titles since 2008. Dobrynska won the Olympic title in Beijing with 6733 points. The following year Ennis won the World title in Berlin with 6731 points and repeated her feat one year later by winning the gold medal in Barcelona with 6823 points (eight points off Denise Lewis’ British record). Last year Chernova broke Ennis’s winning streak in Daegu with an impressive score of 6880 points.

In the recent history of the Hypo Meeting in Götzis the three superstars have met in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Chernova won in 2008 with 6618 points while Dobrynska finished ninth with 6268 points. The Ukrainian bounced back successfully at the Olympic Games where Chernova finished third. Ennis made an unlucky debut in Götzis in 2008 when she was forced to pull out of the competition after the end of the first day due to a serious injury which sidelined her from the Olympic Games.

The Briton did not take part in Götzis in 2009 and chose a more gradual return to competitions after the injury with a remarkable win at the Desenzano Multistars with 6587 points. Dobrynska won the 2009 Hypo Meeting with 6558 points taking a re-match over Chernova, who finished seventh with 6243 points.

Ennis dispelled the bad memory of the injury suffered in 2008 with back-to back wins in the last editions of the Austrian meeting in 2010 and 2011. Two years ago the British star beat Chernova with 6689 to 6572 points, while Dobrynska had to settle for seventh place with 6023 points.

Last year Ennis scored her second win over Chernova in Götzis with 6790 points, then a World seasonal best which was improved later in the year by the Russian at the World Championships in Daegu. Only at the European Championships in Barcelona Ennis has scored more points than last year in Götzis with 6823 points.

With London 2012 where Ennis features as the “poster-girl” of the Olympic Games on home turf, scheduled just two months after the Hypo Meeting, it is not a surprise that the Heptathlon will be one of the most popular events of the 2012 summer season and the Heptahlon in Götzis may become a preview of what will happen in the british capital.  

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF