Ennis was greeted with the biggest cheer of any Team GB athlete to date in this year’s Olympics and the support appears to have served her well.

A spectacular comeback is being hoped for after 26-year-old Ennis missed the Beijing Games after suffering a serious foot injury.

However Ennis appeared in top form as she cleared the hurdles in record-breaking time, a happy start to the London 2012 heptathlon challenge she will have completed by tomorrow night.

Gazing up at the scoreboard after the heat, Ennis looked amazed to see that she had clocked 12.54, beating her previous lifetime best of 12.79 and topping Tiffany Porter’s national record for the event by 0.02.

The 80,000-strong crowd erupted in noisy admiration when her scores were announced.

Track and field events are amount the Olympics’ most popular and this weekend is likely to see most of the nation glued to the TV.  On Saturday evening, Ennis will complete her two-day heptathlon campaign, as Team GB favourite Mo Farah goes for gold in the 10,000 metres.