Ennis can carry on after the next Olympics, says coach

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JESS Ennis’ coach Toni Minichiello has backed the Olympic champion to push on well past Rio 2016, insisting there is plenty of motivation left in the 26-year-old’s tank.

After Ennis’ all-conquering display in the capital this summer many linked the gold medallist with a switch to the hurdles.

But the Sheffield athlete has made her intentions clear to continue in the gruelling heptathlon, at least until the Glasgow Commonwealths in 2014.

And Minichiello insists he sees no reason why the reigning European and Olympic champion could not still be competing at the highest level beyond Rio, although he did concede the hurdles were the more likely option that far into her career.

“Why would you leave heptathlon?” said Minichiello. “It’s incredibly competitive and there are some fantastic challenges coming up over the next four years. Maybe hurdles is something you do beyond Rio but we will wait and see. I believe Jess has two more Olympic cycles in her, 30 is not that old in my opinion, so it is a call we won’t be making for a while. There is plenty more fight in her.”

In the short term Ennis still has plenty of targets she would like to achieve in the heptathlon, including regaining her World outdoor crown in Moscow next summer.

And Minichiello insists that the competitive spirit still burns bright. “From a coach’s perspective all you are doing now is getting her ready for her next challenge,” he added.

“There is the European Indoors in March which we haven’t made a decision on yet, there is the World Championships in Moscow where it would be nice to win another world title and this time it’s in Tatyana Chernova’s backyard instead of Jess’ so that is a nice little twist. Then the following year you are back in front of the home crowd in Glasgow 2014 and the European Championships in Zurich so they are two very different but equally tough competition so over the next two years there are some exciting competitions to go at.

Gillette’s support of the UK Coaching Awards follows its partnership with sports coach UK earlier this year as part of the ‘Great Starts’ campaign, introduced to celebrate coaches and inspire the next generation by awarding coaching grants.