BEIJING (Reuters) - Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill held an 80-point lead over British team mate Katarina Johnson-Thompson after the first day of the heptathlon at the world championships on Saturday.
Ennis-Hill, who took a break from the sport in 2014 as she gave birth to son Reggie, is seeking to regain the world title she won in 2011.
Brianne Theisen Eaton is top of the rankings after beating Ennis-Hill earlier this year but the Briton eclipsed the Canadian in all four events, the 100 meters hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200 meters.
Fastest in the 200 was Johnson-Thompson, in 23.08 seconds, as she chalked up a total of 3,925 points to climb from ninth to second position.
Dutchwoman Nadine Visser was third on 3,871 points while Theisen Eaton was back in fourth with 3,865.
“I had some solid events and I‘m really pleased to be in this position right now,” the 29-year-old Ennis-Hill told reporters.
“I’ve a feeling of slight disappointment because I‘m always comparing myself to my best but I‘m pleased with that score at the end of the day.”
The day’s second event proved pivotal as Johnson-Thompson, a stellar high jumper, nearly went out without registering a score at her opening height.
“I‘m just happy it didn’t all end in tears,” the 22-year-old said after the 200 meters.
Theisen Eaton’s gold medal chances were hit when she managed only a modest clearance in the high jump.
”Right now I think I would be happy with any medal after the atrocious day I had today,“ she said. ”I couldn’t get into a rhythm.
”I felt really great going into the 200 then, I don’t know, I don’t have words. I’ve got to figure it out.
“I don’t think at this point any talking is going to help. I just need to go to sleep, get my mind right and come out tomorrow,” added Theisen Eaton.
The heptathlon concludes on Sunday with the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.
Writing by Steven Downes; Editing by Tony Jimenez