Jessica Ennis was justifiably pleased when she bested Olympic champion Dawn Harper in the 100-meter hurdles race this past Sunday, but any joy she might have had was quickly dashed.
Not even an hour after Ennis passed up Harper and took the lead in the final stretch to win the hurdles race, her victory was taken from her thanks to an error on the part of the race organizers: Rather than having ten hurdles like everyone else, Ennis had nine.
‘We had an incredible day in Manchester yesterday,” Nova International spokesman David Hart said in a statement Monday (via Daily Mail). “We had 40,000 people taking part in the Great Manchester Run in the morning and we had a CityGames where we managed to lay 220 metres of perfectly flat track out on Deansgate and then didn’t put the last hurdle out for a race, so it’s not our proudest moment.
“Clearly as organizers of major sporting events it’s an unacceptable error and we are disappointed and sorry,” Hart continued. “I think it’s pretty safe to say that this mistake won’t happen again.”
It may be an error that Nova doesn’t intend to let happen again, but the news still came as a major disappointment to Ennis. The British heptathlete later said that she felt “let down,” “annoyed” and “disappointed.”
Still, Ennis’ coach, Toni Minichiello, said that she has moved on, and is instead focusing on her next run. “It’s a mistake, nobody’s aiming to make mistakes,” he said. “It’s unfortunate but you move on.”