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So far mark@dair.net has created 123 blog entries.

Ready, Steady, Gotzis

It’s the end of day one of John’s first opportunity to see if he can qualify for Europe and the Olympics. He needs over 8100 points in the Decathlon to do so, something he’s never achieved in competition and a feat only ever managed by five British men.  Toni and I are speaking at the [...]

Saturday 28 May 2016 19:14 BST|

Could You Describe Them to Me Sir?

The day just gets better. After the hassle of cancelled flights and changed airports the latest development in this mini-saga is that, despite assurance to the contrary, John's pole vault poles have not made the trip. Of course, being only five metres long, they must have been very easy to misplace in Birmingham. Passengers must [...]

Thursday 26 May 2016 21:25 BST|

Packing for Pole Vault

When I call back Toni’s mood has improved. Flights are booked and now it’s a case of killing time. He’s back at his desk, planning, as per usual. “At least there’s no excuse for forgetting anything now?” “I hate packing. I’m Mr. Lastminute.com. Running around to make sure I’ve got Euros, change for the trolley, [...]

Thursday 26 May 2016 19:25 BST|

Leaving on a Jet Plane. Not.

Toni and John are flying today to Gotzis, in Austria, to compete against an international Decathlete field that could see John qualify for the Olympics. It’s a big deal. After the subdued, reflective moments from yesterday chaos has returned. With a vengeance. The first text I receive this morning, simply reads, “flight cancelled”. [...]

Thursday 26 May 2016 17:23 BST|

Being a Coach

Tomorrow Toni and John fly to Gotzis ready for John’s big weekend. It strikes me that it’s also Toni’s big weekend. He may not be running, throwing and jumping but in every other sense he’s just as involved as John. To get a better feel for what it’s like anticipating one of the most significant [...]

Wednesday 25 May 2016 20:43 BST|

Real Life Hurdles

Lucy ran in Holland last weekend and did not make her goal of sub 13.1 seconds. On Monday I asked Toni how she was. The exchange went something like this, “She’s disappointed. She ran outside of her target time. I need to speak to her as soon as we’ve finished”. “Where do you start?” “She’s [...]

Tuesday 24 May 2016 18:40 BST|

Jessica Ennis-Hill Officially the Fittest Female

Whilst Toni has being eating I’ve received a Google alert concerning Jess. She has been voted the ‘fittest’ female athlete going to the Olympics by the USA’s Sports Illustrated magazine . When I tell him, Toni’s first instinct is that of a protective dad, “When you say ‘fittest’ what do you mean? I’m never sure [...]

Monday 23 May 2016 21:07 BST|

The Usual Suspects

The BBC are filming again. Toni has eight of the team running around undertaking various drills whilst being chased by a slightly out of breath camera crew. Irrespective of the crew, who probably represent decades of broadcast experience, Toni is directing proceedings. He’s aiming for a ‘Usual Suspects’ line up, an idea we conceived when [...]

Monday 23 May 2016 19:20 BST|

Upping the Ante

Last Week the County, Today the World. Well, at least all the countries from the United Kingdom. The Loughborough International Athletics event is a step up from the season opener in Yorkshire and Jess is joining the fray in the Javelin. For those of you who missed the ‘Get Fresh at the Weekend’ post, John [...]

Sunday 22 May 2016 17:10 BST|

The Toni Commandments: Be The Best You Can Be

Commandment One.  You Need to Know It To Get It I have an inkling about what it means to be Toni Minichiello. It’s a name that's usually followed by the phrase 'coach to Olympic and World Champion Jessica Ennis-Hill'. Toni Minichiello: Coach to Jessica Ennis-Hill It's the mixed blessing and curse of the coach. You [...]

Sunday 22 May 2016 08:18 BST|
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