I’ve already written about days when Toni and the Team can’t access the track because people (The University) fail to communicate their plans. Some days however, you get to the training centre and somebody is using the sand pit without even asking.
Toni’s reputation for being bluff and blunt is one he earned from years of being, well, bluff and blunt so it’s interesting to see how he deals with his unexpected visitor:
“Not everyday a Boxing World Champ’ is hanging around in your sandpit”.
“That could be a headline, ‘I found Anthony Joshua in my sandpit’ “.
“That doesn’t sound right. He’s a tough guy. That conjurs up the wrong imagery”.
“Hmm! Maybe,” I sense a hint of mischief creep into his voice, “some of these girls are tough too”.
“What have you been inflicting on them?”
“I sent you a film”.
“I better watch it now”
“That looks a nasty cut, what did Alicia do?“
“It’s her technique. We’re working on it. She’s ok over low hurdles but the high ones sometimes cause a problem”.
“And Karla? What about her finger?”
“I dunno. She’ll be fine”.
‘Talking of the walking wounded, how’s John?”
“We’ve still not been able to get a scan but it’s been looked at and it’s not as bad as first thought. He’s doing a Wattbike session today”.
I recollect that Lucy raced in Lucerne the previous evening and ask how she got on,
“She ran well but there’s a story”.
“The men’s hundred metres was scheduled before the hurdles. Problem was, although there was a re-start, three sprinters didn’t hear the gun because of the clappers in the crowd and ran the full race. Understandably, when they were finally called back, they wouldn’t run until they’d recovered.
The net result was that the hurdles girls were waiting twenty minutes in the cold. That’s a huge delay and rubbish preparation.
Lucy ran ok even though the wind turned around. Third fastest time this year. Like I always say control the controllables. There was nothing she could have done about the hurdles but there’ll be something there to learn from when we sit down.”
He pauses for dramatic effect,
“I’ve got three of the top six women in the country now”.
“Impressive. Toni Minichiello, hurdles maestro”.
‘It’s got a ring to it”.
“What about the others training today?”.
“Mainly people are on short corners and free kicks.
Nikita was running three hundred metres today which hurt her. In a lactic acid sort of way”.
“She looks pretty beaten up. That’s cruel filming”.
“It’s a cruel event. It’s even tougher for her as her first four hundred is going to be at the National Championships this weekend. Normally you’d look for a more relaxed introduction to racing but earlier injury problems have meant she’s playing catch up. That’s where you sometimes have to put yourself in a painful position”.
Sometimes being a professional sportsperson doesn’t look quite so appealing.