Jessica Ennis-Hill, who was this weekend competing at the prestigious heptathlon Hypo-meeting in Götzis in Austria, reached the qualifying threshold for the 2016 Rio Olympics and can now start with preparations to defend her Olympic gold-medal next summer.

The 29 year-old athlete from Sheffield scored 6,520 points and finished fourth on Sunday, after achieving 320 points more than required for qualification to Rio. The Briton demonstrated an incredible fighting spirit, as she was competing in her first heptathlon since scoring a record 6,955 points and winning the Olympic Gold in London 2012.

During her three-year absence from competitive events, the heptathlete got married, gave birth to her son Reggie and dealt with her troubled Achilles.

The 2012 Olympic champion's final result in Götzis was beyond her expectation; she collected 4,031 points from the first four events, and was fourth overall after the opening day on Saturday. The three remaining events on Sunday were with mixed results; her long jump, which was the opening discipline on the second day, was 6.16m, almost over a foot off her personal best of 6.54m. Also in the javelin, the athlete threw 42.60m, again less than the 43.88m that she recorded previously. However, she excelled in the final event, the 800meters race, which she won within remarkable two minutes and 9.21 seconds, and finished fourth overall, only 11 points below a third-placed athlete.

The winner of the 2015 Götzis competition was the world silver medallist and Commonwealth champion Brianne Theisen-Eaton; the Canadian athlete achieved a world leading result of 6,808 points, and recorded her three personal bests and a Canadian national record.

The second place went to Carolin Schafer from Germany, who scored 6,547 points, while Nadine Broersen of the Netherlands secured third-place, with 6,531 points.

With her Götzis result, Ennis-Hill also secured a place for the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing in August, but she and her team will now review their plans for this summer. The British Olympian feels that she needs to focus on improving her sprint speed, which would refine her 100meters hurdles and 200meters results; so she may decide not to compete in Beijing.