Ed Warner: UK Athletics chief responds to Toni Minichello coaching criticism

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Minichiello criticises Warner's reign as UK Athletics chief
World Athletics Championships on the BBC
Venue: London Stadium Dates: 4-13 August
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UK Athletics (UKA) has done "loads" to ensure Britain develops world-class coaches, says outgoing chief Ed Warner.

Toni Minichiello, the former coach of Olympic and world champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, said Warner's legacy will be "the destruction of coaching".

Warner will leave UKA after 11 years at the end of the 2017 World Championships in London, which run from 4-13 August.

"We're going about it a different way to the way Toni would like to," Warner told BBC Radio 5 live.

Olympic and world gold medallists Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford are coached by Americans Alberto Salazar and Dan Pfaff respectively.

When asked what measures UKA had taken to address the lack of British coaches working with top British athletes, Warner said: "We've done loads about it.

"We're bringing on lots of young coaches, lots of apprentice coaches - there is a whole new generation coming through."

Warner, who is also co-chairman of London 2017, added that former heptathlete Kelly Sotherton and former sprinter Christian Malcolm are both "on the programme" and will be coaching athletes at the World Championships.

'You've got to find the right alchemy'

Minichiello said that Warner had spotted the shortage of British coaching talent and done "nothing" about it, also disputing Warner's claim that he was leaving athletics in "great shape" for successor Richard Bowker.

However, Warner refused to criticise Minichiello in response, calling him "probably the deepest thinker in coaching and athletics".

He added: "Toni is hugely intellectual, his views carry enormous weight and I respect them greatly.

"He's a renaissance man for our sport - he's going to be on the BBC as a commentator [for the World Championships] and people should stop and listen to what he has to stay."

Mike Holmes and Katarina Johnson-Thompson
Katarina Johnson-Thompson split from coach Mike Holmes last year and now trains in France

Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson stopped working with her long-term British coach Mike Holmes last year and now trains with Frenchman Jean-Yves Cochand in Montpellier.

"She couldn't find the right coach in Britain that really worked for her - she chose not to go to Toni, for example," said Warner.

"It doesn't make Toni a bad coach, he's a magnificent coach, but you've got to find the alchemy between the individual athlete and the individual coach and we're very supportive of that.

"Just as there are foreign athletes training over here in Britain, it's an individual sport and we've got to do all we can to wrap the right services around each athlete so that they succeed.

"If you look back afterwards and say, 'They're all in one place in Britain and didn't they jolly well perform well but didn't win medals,' then we'll all be let down - we have to do the right thing by them and get the best from them."

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