Jessica Ennis-Hill boost as coach Toni Minichiello rejoins British Athletics


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The Independent Online

At times, it looked like it would require an olive branch of gargantuan proportions to heal the rift but Jessica Ennis-Hill’s coach Toni Minichiello is to return to the British Athletics fold.

The two sides parted company in acrimonious circumstances at the start of the year after Minichiello was offered a “take it or leave it” role within the body. But he rejected the offer, complaining of a bullying culture.

Recent weeks had indicated a thawing of frosty relations between the parties and yesterday it was announced that Minichiello had rejoined the national body.

Minichiello, who coached Ennis-Hill from the infancy of her career to her crowning golden glory at London 2012, has been given the title of athlete-based support coach.

His role will still be solely to coach Ennis-Hill at their Sheffield base as she recovers from the Achilles injury that denied her the chance to compete at the World Championships in Moscow. But he will once more be on British Athletics’ payroll with the use of services at the National Performance Institute in Loughborough.

Performance director Neil Black repeatedly admitted he was keen to re-employ Minichiello, who at one stage had even been discussed as a possible replacement for Peter Eriksson as head coach as relations improved.

“I am delighted Toni has reconsidered and will now join our team,” said Black, who has doubled up as performance director and head coach since Eriksson’s premature departure to Canada in the summer.

“Our job is to ensure that Jessica Ennis-Hill gets everything she needs to continue to be the best in the world. Toni is absolutely central to that and the whole system works better for him, Jessica and British Athletics when we are all part of the same team.”

Minichiello admitted he was happy to be back within the British Athletics fraternity. “I’ve come to realise my defining passion lies with athletics and my personal drive to be the best athletics coach I can be. So I was pleased to be offered the opportunity to rejoin the British Athletics Performance Team.”