Daily Mail


++ Brit stars beg Coe to overhaul UK Athletics ++ Dismay at lack of expertise at the top ++ Athletes may walk away


eligible for selection to championsh­ips such as the Olympics. At the heart of the athletes’ exasperati­on, according to insiders, is a perceived lack of expertise and presence from performanc­e director Sara Symington and the Olympic head coach Christian Malcolm.

They were both appointed last autumn under chief executive Joanna Coates, with the trio mockingly described as the ‘three amigos’ by one figure close to the system.

The appointmen­t of Symington, who worked under Coates at England Netball, has attracted fierce criticism within the sport, with the performanc­e director accused of lacking athletics knowledge.

Malcolm’s selection last year, ahead of the vastly experience­d and respected Stephen Maguire, also raised eyebrows. The 42-year-old former GB sprinter has been considered ‘out of his depth’ by several athletes and coaches.

‘There is no attention to detail from any of them,’ said one coach. ‘The situation could be a catastroph­e for the sport for years if it does not change.’

It was also flagged up that Symington and Malcolm were on holiday instead of attending the Diamond League finals in Zurich, where Dina Asher-Smith returned to form and Keely Hodgkinson won the 800metres title.

The anger from athletes expressed to Lord Coe, which extends to the lack of British-based competitio­ns and questions about medical provisions, comes at a time when some of Britain’s leading coaches are facing growing uncertaint­y about their positions.

Sportsmail understand­s a number of coaches and coaching consultant­s have been told by UKA in the past fortnight that their working hours could be reduced or their consultanc­ies terminated. Such letters have been sent to Andy Young and Scott Simpson, who respective­ly led Laura Muir (1500m) and Holly Bradshaw (pole vault) to Olympic medals. A letter was also sent to high jump coach Fuzz Caan, with consultanc­ies held by coaches Tore Gustafsson (hammer), Leon Baptiste (sprints) and Jon Bigg also under threat.

UKA indicated in the letters that future consultant posts will be advertised after their current coaching review, but it has caused alarm that the positions have been adjusted or terminated prior to the establishm­ent of a new system.

While coaching reviews tend to follow an Olympics, and indeed certain changes are quite possibly warranted after an underwhelm­ing haul of just six medals, the ‘cold’ nature of the letters has been criticised.

It was also noted that Young had not received so much as a note of congratula­tion for orchestrat­ing Muir’s brilliant 1500m silver medal, though over the weekend it is believed he was told a new contract would be forthcomin­g.

Among the changes on the way, Rob Denmark is expected to leave his interim head of performanc­e role.

A UKA spokespers­on said: ‘Any suggested changes to the coaching structure are not set. We understand for some the changes are difficult, yet for others, some changes are not fast enough.

‘We would urge athletes to continue to feedback to UK Athletics and also engage with the Athlete’s Commission as we are fully committed to ensuring we place athletes first and at the heart of our plans going forward.’

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Under fire: the UK Athletics trio of Malcolm (right), Coates (left) and Symington
GETTY IMAGES Under fire: the UK Athletics trio of Malcolm (right), Coates (left) and Symington

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom