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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 17:01 GMT
Sotherton denies rift with coach
By Scarlett Elworthy

Kelly Sotherton
Sotherton's main aim for 2005 is a medal at the World Championships
Kelly Sotherton will continue to work with coach Charles van Commenee, despite his public criticism of her in Athens and his move to the Netherlands.

Van Commenee, who has taken an athletics post in his native country, accused the British heptathlete of "running like a wimp" at the Olympics.

The Birchfield Harrier missed silver by a second after her efforts in the 800m.

But Sotherton said he will remain her advisor and she will use specialist event coaches in his full-time absence.

Unusually, Sotherton will oversee her own training schedule and look to a team that includes John Trower - Steve Backley's javelin coach - and Aston Moore, Ashia Hansen's triple jump coach, to help on technical issues.

If I could find one person to do everything then I would, but I do not feel there is anybody, not in this country
Kelly Sotherton

Max Jones, the former performance director of UK Athletics (UKA), will supervise her shot and Ted King will focus on her long-jumping and sprinting.

"If I could find one person to do everything then I would, but I do not feel there is anybody, not in this country," the 28-year-old told BBC Sport.

"Probably people think I am stupid, but there is nothing else I can do.

"Of course it is bad timing with things just starting to happen for me on the world stage, but I just have to get on with it."

Reflecting on her Olympic experience, Sotherton admitted tough-talking van Commenee, who guided Denise Lewis to Olympic heptathlon gold in Sydney 2000, had spoilt her party with his outburst.

"Obviously Charles was very upset by Denise going out and me getting the bronze when the silver was so close.

"But if he was going to have a pop at me, I would have thought it would have been behind closed doors, not in front of the press.

"I would rather forget it because even though it should have been the best day of my life, it wasn't.

"What was said was the reason why I am not as excited as I should be about winning a bronze medal.

Charles van Commenee was UK Athletics' technical director
van Commenee was UKA's technical director and a favourite to succeed Jones

"But after that we had 4-5 days apart and then had a chat and he said 'you know we have come a long way in under a year - further than we thought we ever could'.

"Yes, he is a hard man but he is also one of the best - if not the best - multi-events coach in the world and I look to the positives in Charles.

"He is very passionate about his coaching and athletics and that's what makes him good."

Van Commenee started working with Sotherton in March 2003 and in just 10 months took her from outside the world's top 20 to the Olympic podium and number two in the global rankings.

Sotherton also refuses to rule out working with the Dutchman, who left his post of technical director with UKA to become technical director of the Netherlands Olympic Committee, on a full-time basis again in Britain.

And she believes UKA "have missed a trick" by not appointing him successor to Jones.

"You never know what is going to happen in the future, but it is unfortunate that he has gone abroad because he has so much to offer," she said.

Interview: Kelly Sotherton

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