Van Commenee denies he was official who called Jess Ennis 'fat'

Head coach Charles van Commenee says he was not the "senior figure" at UK Athletics who called British heptathlete Jessica Ennis "fat".

Ennis's coach Toni Minichiello had claimed in an interview that an unnamed official had said Ennis was carrying too much weight.

But Van Commenee said: "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."

The comments came to light last Friday, although the interview with Minichiello was conducted in November 2011.

"I spoke to Jessica on Wednesday about this situation," added Van Commenee. "She is totally all right with it. As we know, she performed outstandingly [setting a new British heptathlon record in the days after the story broke].

"For her there is no issue, for me there is no issue."

Ennis told BBC Sport: "I was quite surprised but I think it did all get blown out of proportion, what with this year and the attention around the Olympics. I'm just focusing on training and what I've got to do."

But she added: "I think one of the most important things is that young kids look at athletes as role models and look up to them and want to be like them.

"I wouldn't want any young kids thinking that I viewed myself as overweight because I don't and that's not a healthy way to be. I don't want them to look at themselves and think, 'well if she's overweight then maybe I am'.

"I think you just have to be some careful with some comments that are made."

Van Commenee, who was in Rome on Thursday night for the first Diamond League meeting of the season in Europe, added: "I understand the concern that has been revealed almost across the nation because there are some young people who may read things into that which may jeopardise their health. So I can see that context.

"I was surprised to read it because it hasn't been brought to my attention before.

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

Van Commenee said that while offensive language would not be tolerated by the sport's governing body, he felt he could not be held responsible for policing the policy.

"It goes almost without saying," he said. "Do you come in the office on time? Yes. Do you report back to your line manager? Yes. Do you use appropriate language? Yes. But do I remind people every day to do these things. No."