Scottish Daily Mail

Performanc­e chief Maguire fired after budgets row


STEPHEN MAGUIRE was abruptly sacked as UK Athletics technical director yesterday after a row about budgets for the Paris Olympics. While the cash-strapped organisati­on provided no detail about who initiated his shock departure in a blunt 35-word statement, Mail Sport understand­s that he was dismissed from his post. The decision, which falls just nine months out from the Olympics and was later criticised as ‘incredibly shortsight­ed’ by sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, came to a head in a meeting between Maguire and UKA CEO Jack Buckner at Loughborou­gh yesterday morning. That conversati­on is believed to have nosedived amid ongoing tensions about the dire finances at UKA. One prominent source claims the financial situation is so perilous that there will be no backing for British athletes at certain overseas events — and hinted that the pot for the remainder of this Olympic cycle is effectivel­y empty. UKA declined to comment. Remarkably, the call to remove Maguire (pictured) was made barely a couple of months after the Northern Irishman guided Team GB to a record-equalling 10 medals at this summer’s World Athletics Championsh­ips in Budapest, including golds for Josh Kerr in the 1500m and Katarina JohnsonTho­mpson in the heptathlon. Asher-Smith was clearly angry about Maguire’s departure, writing on social media: ‘Would love to see a full explanatio­n of the reasoning behind the disappoint­ing decision for the athletes and our performanc­es. Stephen has been phenomenal, so dedicated and has an excellent understand­ing of what it takes to be successful in the sport of track and field. ‘Having had a long history in the sport made him excellent at his job, which resulted in the team’s overwhelmi­ng success in Budapest and put us on an amazing path to Paris. Such a snap decision as athletes begin to prepare for an Olympic Games cannot have been done with any considerat­ion for the performanc­e needs of the athletes. ‘As an athlete, it would be nice to have this explained to us because from the outside looking in it seems like an incredibly shortsight­ed decision made without considerin­g that we are in an Olympic year.’

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