Jessica Ennis thrives on pressure of home Olympics

Britain's leading heptathlete expects the pressure of competing at a home Olympics to improve her performance next summer.

After missing the 2008 Games through injury, the world and European champion will be favourite for gold in London.

The 25-year-old told BBC Sport: "All British athletes will feel some pressure next year because it's a home Olympics.

"I hope that pressure will bring out a better performance in me."

Ennis undaunted by 'face of 2012' tag

Ennis added: "I'm feeling alright at the moment. Next year I might be twitching in my chair a little because it will be so close.

"There's always a level of expectation. We need to go out and enjoy [the Olympics], make the most of it and do what we know we are capable of doing."

London 2012 will be Ennis's debut Olympics after she missed the Beijing Games in 2008 with a stress fracture to the foot she sustained just weeks before the competition.

While she will be firm favourite to add Olympic gold to her list of honours, Ennis is taking nothing for granted.

"I experienced before the last Olympics how it can go so well and then be over in an instant," Ennis said.

"So I don't think about gold until I've done everything I need to do.

"I feel it's a great position to be in - going into a home Olympics and being a big part of it is really special."

The Sheffield-based athlete also points to other competitors with medal potential who could secure a successful 2012 for British athletics.

"The past couple of years have been brilliant," Ennis said. "There's a group of athletes coming through now that are beginning to shine so I'm hoping we can go to the Olympics and bring back some good medals."

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee has targeted eight track-and-field medals at next year's Games.

"This would represent the best ever medal haul by a British athletics team in non-boycotted Games," van Commenee said.

"We still have work to do over the next 12 months; athletes simply have to learn how to run faster, jump higher and throw further.

"To achieve those medals we will need at least 15 athletes in contention and within touching distance of the podium."

With roughly a year to go until Ennis begins her heptathlon campaign at the Olympic Stadium, her primary goal is next month's world championships in South Korea.

"The world championships is a big focus. I hope to go there and compete well," she said.

Ennis is in a good position to defend her world crown following some solid performances this season, despite an ankle injury that kept her from competing for seven weeks.

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