Toni Minichiello, former coach of Jessica Ennis-Hill, suspended by UK Athletics

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UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee and Jessica Ennis' coach Toni Minichiello watch the Heptathlon - GETTY IMAGES
UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee and Jessica Ennis' coach Toni Minichiello watch the Heptathlon - GETTY IMAGES

Toni Minichiello, one of Britain’s most prominent athletics coaches and the man who guided Jessica Ennis-Hill to Olympic glory, has been suspended from coaching by the sport’s governing body pending a disciplinary investigation.

Telegraph Sport understands UK Athletics made the decision after Minichiello was subject to a number of complaints.

Despite serving as the coaching representative on the UK Athletics members’ council, Minichiello has often been a vocal critic of the governing body in recent years.

He did not respond to Telegraph Sport when asked about the matter, while UK Athletics declined to comment.

Minichiello first started working with Ennis-Hill when she was 13, guiding her to Olympic and three world heptathlon titles during her illustrious career.

Since her retirement from athletics in 2016, he has worked primarily with lower-level athletes, although in February he announced he was joining forces with Ennis-Hill to look after former world junior heptathlon champion Niamh Emerson. When contacted by Telegraph Sport, Emerson declined to comment.

Minichiello has also regularly worked as a BBC pundit on its athletics coverage in recent years. He was interviewed for the role of UK Athletics Olympics head coach last year after making the shortlist of candidates, but was beaten to the position by former sprinter Christian Malcolm.

He has faced disciplinary action in the past and was issued with an official written warning in 2017 when he was accused of using abusive language towards a female athlete he used to coach.

The athlete wrote a letter to UK Athletics claiming he had verbally abused her when the pair encountered each other at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

After administering the disciplinary action, UK Athletics said: “The panel issued Mr Minichiello with a written warning about his conduct.

“The decision by the case management group is not subject to any further appeal procedures by either side.”

Speaking to The Guardian after the conclusion of the case, Minichiello said: “As a coach I have always worked as hard as I can for all my athletes - we are in this to succeed together and it is disappointing when any coach-and-athlete relationship comes to an end. I understand her frustration but I think the letter is insulting and inaccurate.”

He added: “I don’t think there is a coach in this country who doesn’t work their hardest for the athlete to achieve success and for it to end in an argument is a shame.”