Would YOU call Jessica Ennis fat That's how one GB athletics boss described her
Toni Minichiello said high-ranking staff at the Games 'should know better'Jessica, 26, is the face of Olay's Essentials range
21:17 GMT, 25 May 2012
One of her rivals nicknamed her the Tadpole – because she’s so petite. Another called Jessica Ennis the Flea because she’s so good at the long jump.
Certainly, her lithe form has attracted more than her fair share of male admirers.
But yesterday a senior UK Athletics official asserted that the 2012 heptathlon hopeful was ‘fat’ and carrying ‘too much weight’.
Scrutiny: Jessica Ennis was called overweight in spite of the heptathlete's famous six-pack
The 26-year-old Sheffield-born athlete, who has been described as the Poster Girl of the London Olympics, weighs nine stone and is 5ft5in tall.
However, her 45-year-old coach Toni Minichiello, who has trained her since she was 11, revealed a ‘high ranking person’ within UK Athletics had made the deeply disparaging remarks about Miss Ennis.
He would not reveal exactly who had labelled Miss Ennis fat but admitted such comments were a ‘distraction’ in the weeks leading up to the start of the Games on July 27.
Focused: Jessica's angry coach said she did not need be distracted by this sort of 'background noise' ahead of her medal bid this summer
Unneeded advice: Toni Minichiello, left, said Jessica, right, did not need to deal with this sort of comment
Mr Minichiello spoke of the pressures of dealing with interference from people in ‘fairly high positions, who should know better’ thinking they were ‘trying to be helpful.’
He said: ‘I get emails, phone calls, text messages and voicemails giving me advice on what I should be doing with Jessica that’s going to make a difference.
Beauty queen: Athletics pin-up Jessica recently became the face of Olay's Essentials range
Image conscious: Jess has admitted she never leaves the house without eyeliner and mascara and wears full make-up to compete
‘It’s a lot of background noise that you can get easily distracted by. I’ve never had any issue with her weight or shape. There are times I’ve wished she was taller – but that’s it.’
Miss Ennis is the current European and former world heptathlon champion and has also previously won the world indoor pentathlon championship.
This weekend she is competing in Austria at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis, which will be her only heptathlon event before the Olympics.
Behind the scenes on the Olay ad: 'I love getting my hair and make up done professionally, Jessica admits
In the spotlight: Jessica's coach said she already had enough 'expectations and pressures to deal with'
Yesterday she said of the remarks about her being fat: ‘It’s definitely a funny one, but it’s not an issue.
‘It’s not something I worry about. It’s not something that’s stressing me at the moment so I can just brush it off and ignore it really.’
In the past her former heptathlon rival Kelly Sotherton nicknamed her Tadpole because of her tiny frame. Miss Ennis will compete in her Olympic event over two days in early August.
She is engaged to long-term boyfriend Andy Hill who works as a construction site manager.
UK Athletics said yesterday that it would not comment.
Face of Team GB: Jessica, right, modelled Britain's Olympic kit, designed by Stella McCartney, centre, along with triple jumper Phillips Idowu
Boost: Jessica says wearing some make up to compete gives her more confidence
'Silver bullets': Ennis's coach Toni Minichiello said the comments about the star came from someone high up at the Games who 'should know better'