Coach hits back at Sheffield Jessica ‘fat’ jibes

Jessica Ennis celebrates her victory in the Women's 100m Hurdles event during the Great CityGames on Deansgate, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 20, 2012. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire.
Jessica Ennis celebrates her victory in the Women's 100m Hurdles event during the Great CityGames on Deansgate, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 20, 2012. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire.

JessICA Ennis’s coach has claimed a senior figure at UK Athletics has described the Olympic heptathlon hopeful as ‘fat’ ahead of the Olympics.

Toni Minichiello claimed an unnamed ‘high-ranking person’ within the governing body labelled the 26-year-old former world champion ‘fat’ and said she has ‘got too much weight’.

But he said he and Jess had laughed off the comments.

He said the comments and other forms of intrusion during Ennis’ preparation for the London Games came from ‘people in fairly high positions, who should know better’.

“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.

“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,” said Minichiello.

Jess, who is competing in Gotzis, Austria,in her only full heptathlon before the London Games this weekend said: “I’m not going to go into that right now.

“It’s not an issue at all.

“It’s definitely a funny one, but it’s not an issue.”

Meanwhile Tony said: He said it was ‘ludicrous’ to describe Ennis as fat and admitted he was ‘defensive’ of the athlete whom he has coached since she was 11.

He said: “Things come up on Twitter and I read things. But I try not to focus too much on reading all the articles; just kind of get on with it, laugh it off really.

“It’s not something I worry out. It’s not something that’s stressing me at the moment so I can kind of just brush it off and ignore it really,” he added.

Ennis banishes Gotzis bad memories: P43.