British coaches are getting a raw deal from UK Athletics, claims Minichiello

Ennis's coach says influx of foreigners is bad news after rejecting new role with governing body

For Toni Minichiello, it was business as usual yesterday – another day of trials, tribulations, and keeping the Midas stuff on the golden girl of British athletics.

"I've been coaching Jess in the rain up the road at the Don Valley Stadium," the reigning UK Coach of the Year said after arriving at the English Institute of Sport for day two of the British Athletics European Trials and UK Championships. "She's been doing a running session there and I've come across to coach the athletes I've got competing here."

It was the morning after Minichiello not only announced an end to negotiations with UK Athletics about continuing to work for the governing body on a consultancy basis but did so firing a verbal broadside. Having already lost his old full-time job because of a restructuring process focused on building a centralised base in Loughborough, the man who guided Jessica Ennis from 12-year-old schoolgirl novice to Olympic heptathlon champion rejected a part-time contract, accusing UK Athletics of "a lack of respect " and of operating "a culture of bullying".

After putting his celebrated charge through her Sunday morning paces, and preparing to watch some of his lesser-known athletes in action, Minichiello went further in his criticism yesterday. Asked if he felt he might have been treated differently had he been the Swede who coached Carolina Kluft to global heptathlon domination before Ennis, he replied: "If you look at the squad of athletes around Raina Reider [an American coach hired by UK Athletics to coach at Loughborough] and you look at [Scottish 800m runner] Lynsey Sharp being coached by Terrence Mahon [another US coach at Loughborough] what does that say to British coaches?

"What about the British coaches? Dan Pfaff left after the Olympics and you replace him with another American [Reider]. It's like foreign is better. So be it.

"Peter Eriksson [the UK Athletics head coach] saying to me in the press, 'Take it or leave it' kind of summed up what the level of value was of me. On reflection, I thought, 'OK, I'm going to leave it.'

"It wasn't about the money. With those kind of comments coming, I thought, 'Let's just leave it, then.' It's not going to be a marriage made in heaven. It's up them. They've taken the sport in a particular direction using lottery money as they see fit. It's better just to leave it and get on and coach Jess."

Minichiello added that UK Athletics had twice attempted to get him to relocate his training base with Ennis from Sheffield. "In 2006 there was a push to move us to Loughborough," he said, "and in 2009 there was a very stiff push to move us to London. Neither would have been for Jess's benefit."

Despite that pressure, Minichiello remained in the Steel City, steadily building Ennis into the world's leading all-round female athlete on the track at the Don Valley Stadium – now under the threat of closure – and at the English Institute of Sport indoor arena. One would have thought securing his services would have been a post-Olympic priority but instead, while Stuart Lancaster has had him addressing England's rugby union squad, his talents have been allowed to drift away from the UK Athletics system.

"It's always sad when you have to do it through the newspapers, but it's Toni's decision," Eriksson said. "I'm fine with it. We will do everything we can to help Jess get to where she wants."

Minichielllo managed to get another member of his training group on the podium yesterday, Louise Bloor of Trafford AC taking bronze in the 200m behind Margaret Adeoye and Olympic 400m silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu (far left). Robbie Grabarz won the high jump with 2.31m, failing at a British record height of 2.39m. The performance of the championship came in the women's polevault, Holly Bleasdale soaring to the top of the world rankings with a clearance of 4.77m.

Out in Jamaica, meanwhile, at the Camperdown Classic meeting in Kingston, Usain Bolt won one of the 400m races in 46.74sec. Yohan Blake, whom Bolt beat to Olympic 100m and 200m gold in London last year, finished second in a separate one-lap race in 46.64sec. "I just came out here to win and I'm glad I won injury-free," Bolt said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there