It started with dancing cupcakes and ended with a record breaking performance by the England team. The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has already been hailed by politicians and organisers as one of the greatest in history, but does it deserve such high praise?
“It was a very successful event,” says Toni.
“I was there for the decathlon with John Lane and the crowds were fantastic. They showed so much enthusiasm. The organisation was sometimes not the best, but the crowds were amazing.”
A magnificent performance by England saw them finish top of the medal table with 58 gold, 59 silver and 57 bronze. It’s certainly a great turnaround following the disappointing result in Delhi four years ago, although many did predict England to do well.
“I did see that performance from England coming as we should be quite strong in the Commonwealths,” says Toni. “There was also a rollover effect. Scotland invested heavily in athletics as they were the host nations and this benefited Team GB and the English athletes. So it all rolled over from four years ago.”
There were so many impressive performances during the Games, but it was England’s rising stars who stole the show and proved why they are hotly tipped to be the future of British athletics.
“I think the real highlights were the emergence of Adam Gemili and Jodie Williams. These seem like the real deal sprinters,” says Toni. “They were big performances that you look at and think they could really make the grade at international level.
“Others are Greg Rutherford winning the long jump, although you expect that. Anything less is not acceptable for him. Silver medal is a loss. Laura Samuel scoring 14m in the triple jump was also a great performance as that is a good mark and to do it in a major tournament is very impressive.”
People are now speaking about a golden generation in British athletic, but there are still tougher challenges to come such as next year’s World Championship in Beijing and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“Let me be honest. In the Commonwealths we are supposed to do well but there are still areas for concern,” admits Toni. “The job is not finished. They need to step up again in the next two years. This year is the last fallow year, as I call it. It means it’s the last ‘easy’ year because you have the World Championships after that and then Rio 2016. That is when statistically the standards usually rise and so you will need to be practicing harder and training harder.”
Toni’s top tip – bike training
To keep their training varied, many athletes come off the track and into the gym to use the training bikes. But what advantages do they offer and how can you achieve the best results?
“Jess’ training involves a lot of running and jumping. That’s a lot of pounding and force going through the lower limbs. So the bike gives you an alternative to take the pressure off,” says Toni.
“You still want to achieve the same physiological effects so you have to train longer and harder on the bike but it will give you a good break in your training. The Wattbike offers a high quality workout. It’s brilliant for training as it operates like a sturdy road bike rather than some of these training bikes which can be a bit easy.”
You can follow Toni Minichiello on twitter via @Coach_Toni