• London Olympics 2012

Van Commenee denies making Ennis ''fat' comment

ESPN staff
June 1, 2012
Charles van Commenee was not the official who called Jessica Ennis fat © Getty Images

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee has denied he was the 'high-ranking official' who branded Jessica Ennis "fat".

The comment caused shock and outrage in some quarters when it was revealed by Ennis' coach Toni Minichiello last week, although Ennis responded in the best way possible - by setting a new British heptathlon record at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis.

Observers had speculated that Van Commenee - who has a reputation for being outspoken - had made the comment about Ennis, but the Dutchman has denied that is the case.

"I can imagine that people think there can be only one person who can fire those 'silver bullets' as they were described," Van Commenee said. "That fits my profile. But I can guarantee you that is not the case.

"I have never called Jessica Ennis fat simply because there is no reason for it. What other people may have said, I have no clue."

He added: "She is totally all right with it. For her there is no issue, for me there is no issue."

Van Commenee suggested that UKA would investigate the matter and take action if necessary, although he stressed that weight is one element that has to be closely monitored by coaches. However, he underlined the importance of using suitable language when discussing the subject.

"Every so often you go through a check list and you say 'How are you psychologically? How is your technique? How is your lifestyle? How is your weight? Is there any area for improvement?'" Van Commenee said. "That's an exercise that goes on all the time.

"So in that light, athletes are approached critically but appropriately so I expect UKA employees, including myself, to use appropriate language. Which we do."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.