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Coach plays down Ennis' expectations

May 24, 2012 15:58 pm

Jessica Ennis is a class act whose consistency will pay dividends at the Olympics, according to her coach Toni Minichiello.

But Minichiello also concedes a gold medal in the heptathlon could still be beyond his athlete's control over the two days of competition. Ennis was a hot favourite for gold but has recently lost her world indoor and outdoor titles in the space of seven months after inspired performances from two of her rivals.

"She is a class act," Minichiello told Press Association Sport. "Every championships she has been to since 2009 she has been on the podium. She has been on podiums and showing an upward profile and I think we are continuing to do that. I'm pleased with the progress we are making, but in the back of my mind you can't legislate for what others do."

He added: "She was in great shape in Istanbul (for the world indoors in March) but suddenly Nataliya Dobrynska breaks the world record.

"That's what Olympic year does. It goes steady and then there is this huge hike because people start to buzz. They think 'This is the winter I need to get serious, this is the winter I need to train,' and I think we've seen that from the indoors.

"We have seen improvements in some of our first-day events in the shot, the hurdles and an indoor PB (personal best) of 6.47 metres in the long jump and I am hoping there is going to be a bit of improvement across the board.

"Whether that's going to be good enough I really, really don't know. She could score 6,900 points, which would be a British record and massive PB, and still finish second or third. There is nothing you can do about the opposition. They will do what they do and improve how they improve."

Ennis will contest her only full heptathlon before London at this weekend's Hypo Meeting in Gotzis, where she is seeking a third straight win. And with the 26-year-old's main rivals for Olympic glory also on the start line in Austria, Minichiello admits the result on Sunday will be significant.

"Gotzis is much closer to the Olympics than it has been to the major championships before because there is only about 11 weeks left, so your performance there is important," he added.

"I think normally what happens is that whoever is in the top three or four there is going to be the top three or four in the Olympics. A win in Gotzis doesn't naturally mean you're going to win (the following major championship) as you saw last year, but if Jess wins this year, though, it does mean she's going to win!"

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