Model be­hav­iour from GB ath­letes

BRI­TISH ATH­LETES SHOW THEIR CLASS IN AND OUT OF COM­PE­TI­TION AT EURO CHAMPS

Athletics Weekly - - Contents -

NEIL BLACK be­lieves the cul­ture of the sport and the way Bri­tish team mem­bers man­aged them­selves at events such as the Eu­ro­pean Cham­pi­onships has been most

im­pres­sive in 2018, writes Jes­sica Whit­ting­ton.

The GB team topped the medal ta­ble in Ber­lin, claim­ing seven gold, five sil­ver and six bronze medals, but the Bri­tish Ath­let­ics per­for­mance di­rec­tor has also been en­cour­aged by ath­letes’ be­hav­iour off the track.

“The thing that was re­ally im­pres­sive about 2018 in terms of the over­all per­for­mance were things about the cul­ture of the sport,” says Black.

“The feed­back that we got at the Eu­ro­pean Cham­pi­onships from the Eu­ro­pean Ath­let­ics staff man­ag­ing the event was that we were the most pro­fes­sional na­tional gov­ern­ing body, we gave them the least has­sle, the way that we man­aged the per­sonal coach sup­port of the ath­letes and so on, again gave them the least has­sle.

“We got com­men­tary on a daily ba­sis back in the din­ing hall from the staff who said ‘how do you do it with your ath­letes? They are all so po­lite – they say please, they say thank you, they take their dishes back and what­ever it is’.

“Some peo­ple might think that’s ir­rel­e­vant but for us that’s re­ally im­por­tant and re­flects the un­der­stand­ing and the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the ath­letes as a whole.”

Black, who con­sid­ers there to be a grow­ing num­ber of Bri­tish ath­letes who are on the cusp of be­ing ma­jor in­di­vid­ual medal con­tenders, adds: “The cul­ture within the sport is one of chang­ing – not in a way that be­comes less cut-throat or less de­ter­mined or com­pet­i­tive – but ac­tu­ally un­der­stands that there is a way of pre­sent­ing your­self and man­ag­ing your­self that can be pro­fes­sional and cour­te­ous as well as re­ally fo­cused and de­ter­mined. That for me is a re­ally pos­i­tive mes­sage.”

High per­for­mance: re­lay win­ners in Ber­lin

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