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Jessica Ennis-Hill calls for more female coaches in athletics

March 12, 2014

Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill wants to see more female coaches in athletics.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King has suggested players in her sport are making a "big mistake" by not employing women coaches.

And heptathlete Ennis-Hill, 27, admits athletics coaching is a "very male dominated" area of the sport.

"It would be great to see more female coaches involved in track and field," she told Radio 4's Today programme.

Ennis-Hill, who is coached by a man, added: "I feel they could bring a lot to the sport."

UK Athletics launched a Female Coach Legacy Programme in November 2012 which offered eight women coaches assistance, with the aim of giving them the skills to start working with elite athletes.

Ennis-Hill, who works with coach Toni Minichiello from her Sheffield base, is currently taking a break from athletics as she prepares for the birth of her first child, but she intends to return to action in time to defend her Olympic heptathlon title in Rio in 2016.

"It's a huge challenge to come away from your sport, have a child and come back. I see that as great motivation," she added. "I feel I've got a little bit more time left in athletics and a little bit more left that I'd like to achieve."

In Ennis-Hill's absence, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, 21, is now a favourite for gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Johnson-Thompson won silver in the long jump at the World Indoor Championships in Poland on 9 March.

"She's in incredible form at the moment," added Ennis-Hill. "If she can carry on doing what she's doing, I definitely think she can take the gold medal in Glasgow."