23 September 2008
UK Athletics (UKA) today announced that Charles van Commenee has been appointed to the newly created role of Head Coach.
Van Commenee’s appointment is the conclusion of an extensive planning process led by UKA Chief Executive Niels de Vos to ensure the sport has the very best coaching expertise to enable British athletics to rise to the challenge of London 2012.
Van Commenee will oversee the UK Sport funded World Class Performance Programme, working alongside Britain’s top coaches and athletes as they head towards 2012.
Speaking today van Commenee said: “I am hugely excited to be returning to British athletics and at such an important time for the sport as we begin the countdown to London 2012.
“The fact that I spent four years in Britain as a Technical Director means that I already know many of the athletes and coaches and the way in which our High Performance networks operate. I have kept a close eye on British athletics since I left in 2004, and so can hit the ground running and ensure my influence is felt immediately. There is genuine talent here in the UK, and my challenge is to ensure that potential translates to medal success”
Commenting on the appointment de Vos said: “I am delighted we have been able to persuade Charles to join us. It is clear that our sport needs a genuinely world class coach to lead us into London 2012. Charles has 27 years of coaching experience, has proved his abilities working with British Olympians such as Denise Lewis and Kelly Sotherton, and his recent role in his native Netherlands has exposed him to elite performance management across every Olympic Sport. He is therefore not only a world class athletics coach but also a proven leader of Olympic teams, and I am confident this will be a winning combination for athletics in 2012”.
Chairman of UKA, Ed Warner added “The key to Olympic and Paralympic success lies in coaching, and that is where we must focus our resources – not just at the elite level where we will back up our recruitment of Charles with other coaching investments, but right down-through our sport where coach education and development has been under invested for too long.”
Lord Sebastian Coe, LOCOG Chair said: “This is an excellent appointment and I congratulate UK Athletics on securing his services. Charles understands coaching and how to get the best out of athletes. He has a fine technical knowledge of all aspects of athletics and can make a big difference to our 2012 prospects.”
John Steele, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said “UK Sport welcomes the decision by UK Athletics to appoint Charles van Commenee as Head Coach, and commends the sport for wasting no time in focusing on the challenges ahead. It is fantastic that we are able to attract someone of Charles’ quality to work in the UK’s high performance system. We look forward to working with Charles and seeing our athletes and coaches benefiting from his experience.”
Van Commenee will take up his post on a full time basis on 1 February 2009, but his input into the programme will begin immediately as he splits his time between UKA and his outgoing role as Performance Director of the Dutch Olympic Committee.
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