The last couple of days have been a bit of a media blur for Toni. The broadcast of Jessica Ennis-Hill: A Coach’s Story on BBC has dragged him from lurking in the shadows and thrust him, at least temporarily, into the limelight. I’m pretty sure he’s enjoying it. I’ll be reviewing the programme tomorrow. If you fancy chipping in please feel free to try your hand as a TV critic in the comments box below.

Click here to see Toni doing his thing on Radio 5 live.

Toni Minichiello on 5Live

Such a Lovey

More importantly, when I speak to Toni, his media duties done, he’s about to jump in a cab to begin a journey to Loughborough from Manchester via Sheffield to get back to the day job. Karla and Nikita are both hoping to make their mark and, media buzz or no media buzz, Toni wants to be there to support them. It may not be Rio but it matters.

One of the things few people realise is that Jessica Ennis-Hill is part of a team of athletes coached by Toni. Young hopefuls like Alicia train alongside one of the most successful and recognisable athletes the UK has ever produced. This isn’t a coincidence, it’s manufactured by Toni. There are times when the focus is all on Jess but, more often than not, it’s a team thing.

“…If someone new to the group thinks they’re a bit special it doesn’t take long for the others to chip the corners off.”

Jess spots the heavy bar

Jess Spots the Heavy Bar

Toni is very clear on this point, “Everyone is in it together. Everyone has the same work ethic and same attitude. If someone new to the group thinks they’re a bit special it doesn’t take long for the others to chip the corners off.”

“Either that or they don’t last long?”

“Exactly”.

“It strikes me that could never be an issue with Jess?”

“No because she’s kept her feet on the ground and stayed humble. She knows who she is and remembers where she’s from”.

“…Few people will train harder or be more competitive with themselves than Jess”.

“It must still be great for the younger athletes to train alongside her?”

“That’s obviously part of it. It makes it feel achievable, accessible. She’s also a great role model. Few people will train harder or be more competitive with themselves than Jess”.

“Do you think it helps them push themselves further?”

“Definitely”.

It certainly can’t hurt. Alicia is competing at the IAAF World Juniors tomorrow when earlier this week she was racing in training against Jess.

“How are things at LEAP?”

Karla sets the blocks

Karla Sets the Blocks

“Karla’s going pretty well. 13.44 in the hurdles”.

“And Nikita?”

Toni and Nikita Selfie

Coach and Athlete Selfie

“She stopped the clock with an official time of 24.31 with the wind at plus1.9”.

“That sounds good?”

“It is. The wind is legal below plus 2.0 so it’s officially a personal best”.

A personal best. Always the best way to conclude the day.

Nikita in action

Nikita in Action