Jessica Ennis’ coach has claimed a senior figure at UK Athletics has described the Olympic heptathlon hopeful as fat ahead of this summer’s London Games.
Toni Minichiello told the Guardian that an unnamed “high-ranking person” within the governing body labelled the 26-year-old former world champion “fat and she’s got too much weight”.
Minichiello said the comments came amid perceived intrusion in Ennis’ preparation for the Olympics from “people in fairly high positions, who should know better”.
“I get e-mails, 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,” Minichiello told The Guardian.
“Yes, it might be a great idea, but it’s not a great idea for today, it’s a great idea for next year.
“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 things you can’t deal with are what we’ve dubbed as ‘silver bullets’. And other people. You can’t deal with the expectations and pressures that are on other people, like the BOA’s team management.”
Minichiello also hit out at 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, ahead of Ennis’ last heptathlon before the Olympics in Gotzis, Austria this weekend.
“The Olympics, for Jess, is an individual environment and she knows how to behave and get the best out of herself.
“You know what? Jessica doesn’t have a problem with behaviour. We don’t have an issue there, we’re not going to get embroiled in bad stuff. She signs the flag, we just get on. It’s an aesthetic. I may get in trouble for (saying) that.”
The apparent comments are not the first time a British Olympic hopeful has been derided for her weight ahead of the Games after teenage weightlifter Zoe Smith had her personal funding withdrawn due to concerns over her fitness.
Smith was 16 years old when British Weightlifting decide to temporarily remove her entitlements after she allegedly arrived at a training camp overweight and without an acceptable training plan.