Minichiello will start new year as Jess’ volunteer coach

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WHILE last year was full of the certainty of an Olympic Games to prepare for, 2013 will begin with Coach of the Year Toni Minichiello out of contract with UK Athletics.

It is a confusing situation for Minichiello, the man who steered Jessica Ennis to Olympic heptathlon gold at this summer’s London Games, to be in.

However, Minichiello’s deal with athletics’ governing body ended at midnight last night, which leaves him still working with Ennis as part of her team, but only on a voluntary basis for now.

The Star understands that talks between Minichiello and UK Athletics will continue early in the new year but the two sides are no closer to agreeing a way forward.

Athletics, which saw Ennis, distance runner Mo Farah and long jumper Greg Rutherford win four gold medals between them in London, has moved to a single-centre model in Loughborough.

Coaches and support staff will be based there and athletes will be expected to access UK Athletics services at the site.

Ennis, though, trains primarily at the English Institute of Sport in Attercliffe and has already turned down opportunities to move elsewhere because she is settled in her home city and believes she’s at her best when surrounded by friends and family.

Having won every major title bar the Commonwealth Games the Ennis and Minichiello ‘model’ has worked successfully with both coach and athlete wanting to retain the status quo.

January sees the start of the indoor athletics season. Ennis, who had a full indoor campaign last year en route to winning world pentathlon silver in Istanbul, in March, has yet to commit to any meetings.