Jessica Ennis-Hill embraces New Year challenge

Jessica Ennis-Hill and her coach Toni Minichiello
Jessica Ennis-Hill and her coach Toni Minichiello
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Three years ago Jess Ennis-Hill ‘climbed Everest’ as she claimed the Olympic heptathlon crown and she is at the foot of the mountain once again, according to coach Toni Minichiello.

Since victory in 2012 the Sheffield woman had to content with injury and childbirth. But this year she made an impressive return as she claimed a second World Championships gold medal in Beijing and has again been made a contender for Sports Personality of the Year.

The 29-year-old will now turn her attentions to Rio 2016 and her bid to become the first British woman to ever retain an Olympic title.

Minichiello said: “No British woman has retained an Olympic title so that’s a nice one to try and tick off. If you are looking for a target to set for yourself then that’s it because it is difficult when you have won Olympic gold, you’ve climbed Everest, you get to the bottom and someone says go and do it again.

“It’s difficult to motivate yourself again but you look for motivations and she has her son and it’s not as selfish a target as it was before. Now it’s about winning for family and creating a legacy for her children. You have to work with the people you have and their downsides and insecurities and improve it and support them in whatever way you can as a coach.”

Minichiello was recognised for his work over the last 12 months by being nominated for high performance coach of the year at the annual UK Coaching Awards.

The Sheffield man lost out in the end to England and Great Britain hockey coach Danny Kerry at the ceremony in Manchester’s Midland Hotel, this week.

But, while he says winning would have been nice, he was delighted to see the passion for coaching alive and well.

“It’s been great to share a room with 250 people who are interesting in coaching and it’s nice to be among friends,” he added.

“Everyone wants to win but it only matters a little bit because for Danny Kerry to win the award is superb, he is a good coach and a good friend.

“It was an interesting year because there were three nominees all of whom work with women and women’s teams so it’s good to be part of that and to be recognised.”

*The UK Coaching Awards 2015, hosted by sports coach UK is a chance to recognise excellent coaching and coaching organisations that have achieved outstanding success over the past 12 months. For more information visit:www.sportscoachuk.org