London 2012: Jessica Ennis Labelled 'Fat' By UK Athletics Official, Says Coach

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Call that fat? | PA

Jessica Ennis was labelled "fat" by a senior official at UK Athletics, according to her coach Toni Minichiello.

A "high-ranking person" at the governing body said the 26-year-old poster goal of the London 2012 Olympics is "fat and she's got too much weight", according to Minichiello.

The 45-year-old has coached the heptathlete since she was 11, and poured scorn on the criticism, clarifying Ennis' weight hadn't fluctuated.

"The things you can't deal with are what we've dubbed 'silver bullets'," the 45-year-old told The Guardian. "And other people. You can't deal with the expectations and pressures that are on other people, like the BOA's [British Olympic Association] team management."

Born in Sheffield, like Ellis, Minichiello suggested the distractions in the build-up to the Games stemmed from "people in fairly high positions, who should know better".

Commercial activities have been ramped up with just over two months to go until the Olympics begin, and Minichiello bemoaned the "advice" he has personally received, claiming it is easy to get "distracted by" the "background noise".

The former civil servant however conceded Ennis' image has elevated as London 2012 looms, but stressed she remained humble.

"The difference is that she's now a 'personality'. If she walks into the dining room, people will go 'Ooh, that's Jessica Ennis from athletics.'

"Equally, she'd turn round and go 'Wow, that's David Beckham on the Great Britain football team.' So there's lots of distractions."

UK Athletics have declined to comment.

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