Several of Britain's leading medals hopes and potential finalists at this year's World Athletics Championships in Beijing were in action at the weekend. Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford finished a disappointing seventh in Shanghai, with his teammate Chris Tomlinson a further place back. Jenny Meadows made a solid start to her season with a battling 5th place in the 800m at the same Diamond League meeting. London 2012 'Golden Girl' Jessica Ennis-Hill competed in a slightly lower key meeting at Loughborough, as she attempted to hone her heptathlon skills in the long jump and javelin events.

Disappointing result for Rutherford

Rutherford decided to test his early season form in the glitzy Diamond League meeting in Shanghai. Having tasted success at the Great City Games in Manchester, the competition was a step up in class for the 28-year-old Milton Keynes' athlete. Although his opening leap of 8.05m represented a season's best, he had problems with his run up afterwards and consequently fouled four times in a row to wind up 7th overall.

By contrast, Russia's Aleksandr Menkov improved throughout the event to grab a narrow victory. His fifth round effort of 8.27m was just 1cm further than the American Jeff Henderson in 2nd place. Tomlinson finished 8th with a best jump of 7.80m.

Meadows starts solidly

Meadows ran a slightly conservative race in the women's 800m in Shanghai, laying off the early pace and instead attempting to close on the field down the home straight. Her 5th place finish in a modest 2:01.37 was solid enough in a slow race overall, as Kenya's Eunice Sum pulled away to win in a fraction outside two minutes.

Britain's top half-miler during the indoor season will look to build on the performance once her speedwork improves, after recent training times have been some way down on her expectations.

Gotzis seems to be back in Ennis-Hill's plans

Ennis-Hill and her coach Toni Minichiello seem to have been relatively pleased with the London 2012 heptathlon winner's early form.

Third place in Manchester over the 100m hurdles discipline was a promising start. She built on that in the Loughborough International meeting with a 6.16m long jump for third place. Her javelin throw of 43.88m may have only been good enough for sixth at the meeting, but was perhaps the slightly better performance of the two events.

Despite both of those distances being some way down on her best ever marks, she has committed herself to the Gotzis Hypo-Meeting at the end of the month. Her participation in Austria will be the first time she will have competed in the heptathlon since winning Olympic gold. Clearly athlete and coach have decided that she is capable of being both competitive and achieving the Rio 2016 qualification tally of 6,200 points there.

Early season still

With the new outdoor season still very much in its infancy, there is no need for any of Britain's top athletes to worry too much about hitting the heights just yet. Mo Farah for one will be hoping that his defeat in Doha on Friday over 3000m was just a 'blip'. Certainly the third place finishes of Tiffany Porter (100m hurdles) and Isobel Pooley (high jump) in Doha suggested that they have started on the right lines. With the World Championships not being until August, that is when the athletes will look to reach their peak.