Jessica Ennis-Hill is back in athletics as a mentor for young heptathlete Niamh Emerson after Emerson teamed up with Ennis-Hill's old coach Toni Minichiello.
Minichiello is coaching the 21-year-old Briton, who already has a Commonwealth Games bronze medal and a European Indoor Championships silver.
Emerson believes that she has already stepped up her efforts as a result of the chance.
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“The training is harder, definitely,” Emerson told the Guardian.
“I’ve had a big shock. But it’s good. We are building it up at the moment. Everything’s just a lot more intense; especially in the gym.
“I needed a different setup. And so I spoke to Jess – who has literally done it all – and then Toni.
“Jess and I are very different as athletes and in height. But that’s the nice thing about the heptathlon. There are so many different routes to a good score.”
Ennis-Hill has told Emerson that there is plenty more hard work to come.
“I’ve been trying not to scare her too much and thankfully she’s a strong 800m runner,” she said. “But those 800m that we used to do are gruelling; oh, and the hill runs!”
The former Olympic and world champion explained what she and Minichiello have to offer.
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“I’ve just been at the other end of the phone whenever Niamh has wanted to chat things through with regards to training, injuries and competition experience, offering a bit of help where I can.
“Meanwhile Toni has great experience in helping to develop an athlete’s potential, particularly at this stage.
“He is structuring and putting together the right programme for Niamh.”
Emerson has struggled for a little over a year since a partial patella tendon tear, but she hopes to be competitive at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, rescheduled from 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic struck.
“I have definitely been in hibernation with my injury and then with Covid happening,” she explained.
“During the first lockdown, I had to train on the golf course next to my home in Derbyshire, and in my garden. So I’m not entirely sure exactly where I am in terms of the heptathlon. But we’re pretty much thinking of Götzis in late May and then on to the Olympics.”
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