Coach ponders Jessica Ennis-Hill’s future after London Games

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill speaks with her coach Tony Minichiello during day two of the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games at The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill speaks with her coach Tony Minichiello during day two of the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games at The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

Jessica Ennis-Hill dropped the biggest hint yet that she’s ready to compete at next month’s World Championships - but admits it will be her coach she needs to persuade.

Sheffield’s Olympic heptathlon champion wanted to wait until after this weekend’s Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games before committing to Beijing.

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill competes in the Women's Long Jump

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill competes in the Women's Long Jump

But she certainly had no complaints with her season’s best performances in the 100m hurdles, long jump and 200m.

Friday saw her clock 12.79 seconds in the hurdles, while on Saturday she leapt 6.37m before running 23.49 seconds in the 200m.

However, coach Toni Minichiello - who protects his star charge with zeal - might be a hard man to persuade.

“I definitely feel a lot more positive about Beijing and the training I’ve done over the last couple of weeks since the British Championships has made a big difference,” said Ennis-Hill, speaking at the event, a partnership with British Athletics that builds on Sainsbury’s support for the 2012 Paralympics and recognises that sport can unite and inspire children of all ages.

“I’m making progress and I’m really happy with how the weekend has gone. I feel happy that I’ve raised my competition standards in this environment. I need to sit down with my coach and have that conversation now.

“It’s hard to read Toni, he’s been up and down about it and it’s going to be an interesting conversation. If I don’t go that’s my season over. I’ll take a break and then focus on having a good winter and Rio.”

Minichiello was keeping coy on his thoughts, suggesting no announcement would be made until Monday.

“The decision will be taken purely with Rio in mind, it’s all about that for us - defending the Olympic title next summer,” he insisted.

If Ennis-Hill does travel to China, she believes she’s in the shape to win a medal - even if she agrees that retaining the Olympic title is the only thing that really matters in the final analysis.

“I’ve done three events and it’s given me a good indication of where my speed is but there are other events too and obviously my javelin was a disaster at the trials,” she added.

“I know where the competition is for Beijing, I know what the standard is but it’s about me and about being competitive.

“I’m towards the end of my career and I’ve already achieved so much but, in my mind, Rio is the main thing for me. The World Championships this year was always going to be a massive bonus.

“I’d still want to be competitive and I’d still want to get a medal. In Gotzis some of my performances were below par, so I’m happy and I’m coming into form at the right time.”

* Sainsbury’s is a proud partner of British Athletics. The partnership reflects Sainsbury’s wider commitment to inspiring healthy lifestyles for all, and complements grassroots campaigns such as Active Kids and the Sainsbury’s School Games. www.sainsburys.co.uk