British athletics coach banned for life for sexual misconduct

FILE - Toni Minichiello looks on during the women's heptathlon at the Hypo Meeting in Goetzis, Austria, May 26, 2012. The coach who helped British athletics star Jessica Ennis-Hill win Olympic and world titles was effectively banned for life Tuesday, August 9 2022 for misconduct including physical sexual conduct with athletes over a 15 year period.  Minichiello was found guilty by a court of four counts which constituted athletes over a 15 year period. Minichiello was found guilty by a court of four counts which constituted “abus de confiance flagrants”, a déclaré l’instance dirigeante de l’athlétisme britannique. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, Fichier)” loading=”lazy”/>

FILE – Toni Minichiello looks on during the women’s heptathlon at the Hypo Meeting in Goetzis, Austria, May 26, 2012. The coach who helped British athletics star Jessica Ennis-Hill win Olympic and world titles was effectively banned for life Tuesday, August 9 2022 for misconduct including physical sexual conduct with athletes over a 15 year period. Minichiello was found guilty by a court of four counts which amounted to “gross breach of trust”, the governing body of British athletics has said. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, File)

PA

The coach who helped British athletics star Jessica Ennis-Hill win Olympic and world titles was effectively banned for life on Tuesday for misconduct, including ‘sexually physical behaviour’ with unidentified athletes over a 15-year period year.

Tony Minichiello has been found guilty by a court of four counts which amounted to “gross breach of trust”, the governing body of British athletics has said.

Minichiello’s misconduct against athletes included unwanted touching, “inappropriate sexual references and gestures”, and “aggressive behavior, bullying and emotional abuse”.

“They constitute gross breaches of trust by Mr Minichiello which have had serious consequences for the mental health and mental well-being of the athletes under his care,” UK Athletics said.

He thanked and congratulated the athletes who testified against the British coach, without naming them. It was unclear whether Ennis-Hill had been a witness.

Minichiello made his name guiding the Ennis-Hill heptathlon star to three world titles from 2009 to 2015, and Olympic gold and silver medals.

Ennis-Hill’s gold medal performance at the London 2012 Games on home soil ended on the so-called ‘Super Saturday’ at the Olympic Stadium which has become part of British sporting tradition. She won silver in her title defense at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.

Although the coach could not be disciplined by athletics authorities because his license expired during the pursuit, he was effectively expelled by the sport.

“As a result, the UKA have decided that they will not accept any future applications made by Mr Minichiello for a UKA coaching license in perpetuity,” the UK track body said.

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Naomi C. Amerson