05 November 2012
Four UK Athletics coaches have been announced as finalists for the 2012 UK Coaching Awards, organised by Sports Coach UK. Peter Eriksson, Toni Minichiello, Dan Pfaff and Jenny Archer have all been named on the list of eight finalists for the High Performance Coach of the Year award whilst another athletics coach, Sonya Ellis, has been shortlisted for the Gillette Community Coach of the Year.
The awards will reward individual coaches who have shown outstanding commitment and achieved excellent results in sport during 2012 at a ceremony held at the Lancaster London on the evening of 20 November.
Eriksson, who was recently named as UKA’s new Olympic Head Coach, led Great Britain’s Paralympic athletics team to their most successful Games ever in London, finishing third in the medal table. The Swede was coach to Hannah Cockroft, who won double gold in the T34 100m and 200m setting world records in both events en route, and Shelly Woods, who took victory in the London Marathon in April and a silver medal in the T54 marathon at the Paralympics.
Minichiello, coach to Jessica Ennis, helped to mastermind her memorable gold medal in the heptathlon at the London Olympic Games where she set a new British record of 6,955 points and ran the fastest ever 100m hurdles in a heptathlon. She had previously increased the British record to 6,906 in Austria in May and won a silver medal in the pentathlon at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March, setting a British indoor pentathlon record in the process.
Pfaff has enjoyed a successful 2012 with the undoubted highlight being an Olympic gold medal in London for long jumper Greg Rutherford. The American is also coach to Jonnie Peacock, the 19 year old sprinter who won a dramatic gold in the T44 100m at the London Paralympics, as well as British javelin record holder Goldie Sayers, British pole vault record holder Steve Lewis and 2012 European 400m hurdles champion Rhys Williams.
In the last 12 months Jenny Archer has coached David Weir, the current T54 British record holder in every track event from 100m to 10,000m, to a record-equalling sixth London Marathon victory and an incredible four gold medals at the London Paralympic Games. Weir took thrilling wins in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon to become the most successful T54 athlete of all time.
Ellis is one of three coaches to be shortlisted for the Gillette Community Coach of the Year. She is the founder and head coach of the South West Athletics Academy and has shown extraordinary commitment to coach a wide variety of athletes regardless of age, background and disability. Ellis has worked with athletes at a number of different schools, clubs and organisations as well as helping to develop other coaches.
The shortlists were selected after a total of 400 nominations from more than 35 sports were received. Joslyn Hoyte Smith, Chair of the Judging Panel, said:
“2012 has been an incredible season for sport in the UK, not simply for the inspiring performances at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but for our success in cycling, golf and tennis. The number and strength of the nominations for this year’s UK Coaching Awards has made the task of judging more difficult than ever. In particular, we’ve had to compare coaches who have worked with multiple athletes, against those who have worked with the same athlete over a number of Olympiads.”