Toni and Nikita

Last night I finally managed to sit down and watch ‘Jessica Ennis-Hill: A Coach’s Story’ (It’s available on BBC i-player in case you’re wondering).

Although I was confident, from conversations with Sarah Cook the shows’ Director, that it would be good I wasn’t sure how accurately it would portray the life of Toni and the team. You get to learn quite a lot talking to someone every single day for five months so I did have a degree of over-protective nervousness (is that a thing? It is now), when I pressed play. I needn’t have worried.

The documentary is like Toni’s style; honest, insightful and with just the right amount of irreverence. Actually that’s not entirely true.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know Toni usually produces irreverence in spades. I guess that’s what this blog is for.

Anyway, if you watched it I hope you enjoyed and if you haven’t watched it – what are you waiting for? It’s probably one of the best ways to spend thirty minutes you can find that combines sport and a screen.

To today. Toni is back training with Jess and the team at the outdoor track. I’m at Lords with Mark watching England Cricket whilst monitoring Toni from afar. I call during a break,

“How’s training?”

“Hot, very hot”.

“How are the guys coping”.

“Everyone’s working hard. I think they’re enjoying a bit of sunshine for a change”.

“Any tales to tell?”

“Not really. Business as usual”.

“In that case I’ll pick up from one of our earlier conversations and leave you in peace”.

The conversation I’m referring to is why all sports, including athletics, have such a huge problem with teenagers (particularly females) dropping out. Not wishing to name-drop (he lied) but it’s a conversation I’ve also just had with Judy Murray in relation to tennis.

Over the last few days Toni has re-assumed his role as Graham Norton and interviewed some of the team about why they’ve stuck with athletics in light of the multiple temptations placed in front of a teenager; from clubbing to Dunkin’ Donuts (the latter can, it seems, be accommodated into an athletic lifestyle when enjoyed in moderation).

Here’s his first interview, with Alicia:

It’s a huge challenge for sport – getting girls involved in sport and then keeping them in it. Not necessarily because they may become Olympic Champions but because they enjoy it and benefit from it.

To a lesser extent it’s the same for boys. Perhaps we should stop blaming the kids for only being interested in computer games a re-think the way we let them enjoy sport.

What do you think?