The coach of Jessica Ennis has hit out at UK Athletics after he claims a senior figure there described the Olympic heptathlon hopeful as ‘fat’.
Toni Minichiello told the Guardian that a “high-ranking person” within the governing body labelled the 26-year-old “fat and she’s got too much weight”, but he would not disclose who said the comments.
He did say, however, that they came from “people in fairly high positions, who should know better” amid perceived intrusion into the former world champion’s Olympic Games preparations.
Although he acknowledges that the people in question were “trying to be helpful”, he says they are guilty of adding to a slew of unwanted distractions.
“I get emails, phone calls, text messages and voicemails giving me advice on what I should be doing with Jessica Ennis that’s going to make a difference,” he told the Guardian. “It’s a lot of background noise that you can get easily distracted by.
“I’ve never had any issue with her weight or shape. There are times I’ve wished she was taller, but that’s it.”
The 45-year-old coach, who has coached Ennis since she was just 11 years old, added that both Ennis’s weight and body fat percentage had remained constant in recent times.
He also voiced his opposition to plans from the British Olympic Association for Team GB members to sign a code of conduct ahead of the Olympics.
“What’s a big deal to Clive Woodward at the minute is the athletes’ agreement,” he said, clearly unimpressed.
“The Olympics, for Jess, is an individual environment and she knows how to behave to get the best out of herself.
“You know what? Jessica doesn’t have a problem with behaviour. We don’t have an issue there.”
Jessica Whittington, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine