The build up to Saturday’s event was similar to Friday but without the Bolt effect. Jess’ performance in the hurdles heat, albeit overshadowed by the remarkable world record run in the final by Kendra Harrison, still got the media talking.

Toni was in demand before the long jump, being interviewed by Gabby Logan and Michael Johnson from the BBC. 

Toni Anniverary Games Media

Is Toni About to Sing?

He was also interviewed in the studio after the event. Given that Jess didn’t make it through to the final rounds it probably wasn’t his favourite time to be questioned.

Toni Anniverary Games BBC

Toni Makes A Point

Toni has just finished his interview with the BBC when I speak to him. He is, as usual, fairly phlegmatic about the day but already looking at his own performance,

“I’m frustrated, Jess is frustrated. It’s been a mixed weekend. Great first heat in hurdles with PPPB but then a poor day today in the long jump.

Today I just wasn’t able to support in the right way. That’s my responsibility as a coach and something I always look at”.

Toni Anniverary Games Long Jump

Toni Demonstrates ‘Leaning Back’

“What would you have done differently?”

“I’d have told her to run at the board harder. Really attack it…”

Toni goes quiet for a moment, reflecting. He picks up again,

“Training’s been going really well so it’s always annoying when it doesn’t come together in competition.

But that’s sport I guess”

‘It’s a pity she didn’t get more jumps”.

Jess Anniverary Games Long Jump

Jess In Action

“It’s like I said during the interview. The Diamond League are messing with it and it’s ruining the competition. You should be allowed to have all six jumps. That’s far better competition and far better TV”.

“Michael Johnson didn’t seem to agree”.

“Yeah but what you didn’t hear was the banter when the cameras were off. I asked him where he usually was at 200 metres in the 400 metres and he said ‘nowhere’. He always came strong in the back end of the race. Just like some jumpers are able to pull off their best jump at the end”.

“Did he concede the point?”

“He did”.

Toni Anniverary Games Interview

Before The Banter

“How’s Jess?”

“A bit pissed off. Like I said on TV it’s probably good that we’re not travelling back to Sheffield together!”.

“I’ve just seen that Alicia has made the final with 13.34 as a fastest loser in the heats”.

“That’s brilliant. That’s good news. And Louise ran a season’s best today too”.

Toni Anniverary Games Interview

Toni Does ‘Blue Steel’ Whilst Modeling the Coach to Rio Polo

“What now?”

“Pick up the car and get on the road as quick as I can. I’m back on the track tomorrow”.

“Who is training?”

“Pretty much everyone who hasn’t competed this weekend”.

“Drive safe”.

I’ve said it before. The road to Rio has a lot of twists and turns.