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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 14:50 GMT
Thompson guides rising star Ennis
By Sarah Holt

Daley Thompson and Jessica Ennis
Thompson (left) has been advising fellow multi-eventer Ennis
Double Olympic decathlon champion Daley Thompson has revealed he is mentoring British heptathlete Jessica Ennis.

Thompson was appointed as a UK Athletics mentor last August and is now advising Sheffield's Ennis, 21, who is regarded as a 2012 Olympic medal hope.

"I will give her technical advice if she asks but at the moment she just wants someone to bounce things off," the former decathlete told BBC Sport.

"I am happy to help with whatever input her and her coach think I can make."

Ennis made her senior breakthrough at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne last year, where she collected the bronze medal.

606: DEBATE

She continued to progress, setting a new personal heptathlon best of 6287 points at the European Championships and a pentathlon best with her sixth-place finish at the European Indoors earlier this month.

Thompson has now been commissioned by UKA to help Ennis but intends to let her take the lead on his level of involvement.

"We started working together in the last few weeks," said Thompson. "She has been getting injured in competitions and so far we have just been talking.

"I will work with her as often as is needed whether that's once a week or once a year. It is completely up to her and her coach Toni [Minichello]."

She is a fantastic athlete but it's a long way to go between now and 2012

Daley Thompson

Ennis is expected to follow in the footsteps of British heptathletes Denise Lewis and Kelly Sotherton, who won gold and bronze respectively at the last two Olympic Games.

While Sotherton will still be a contender at the Beijing Games next year, Ennis is already being marked out as a genuine medal hope for the London Games in five years' time.

But Thompson, who won back to back decathlon golds at the 1980 and 1984 Games, says his first piece of advice to Ennis is to keep her feet on the ground.

"She is a fantastic athlete but it's a long way to go between now and 2012," said Thompson.

British heptathletes Kelly Sotherton and Jessica Ennis
Sotherton and Ennis are rivals for the British number one spot

"The best thing she can do is to get her head down, do her training and, if the results go well, then she has the potential to do well. But she must get on with her sport and let the rest take care of itself."

Thompson is taking an active role in finding Britain's next generation of athletes as part of the Sainsbury's Future Champions Scheme.

He, and fellow UKA mentor Katharine Merry, are also expected to be assigned more developing athletes to work with.

"[UK athletics performance director] Dave Collins has asked me to start with Jessica," said Thompson. "Depending on how that goes there are other people in the pipeline."

SEE ALSO
Kluft staves off gutsy Sotherton
02 Mar 07 |  Athletics
Ennis outdoes Sotherton at trials
10 Feb 07 |  Athletics
Tadpole makes a splash
07 Aug 06 |  Athletics
Meet the mentors
10 Oct 06 |  Athletics
Sotherton claims heptathlon gold
22 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
GB athletes too soft - Thompson
24 May 06 |  Athletics
British legends get mentor roles
04 Aug 06 |  Athletics


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