Neil Black, one of the most well known physios in the sport, has been named UK Athletics’ Performance Director. “Neil is the best physio in the world, you can not find anyone who does not think highly of Neil. In fact, he came and helped me last January when I had some issues in Portland, ” commented Mo Farah.
Charles Van Commenee, the UK athletics Head coach, who has announced his departure as of January 1, 2013, has high praise for Black as well. BBC TV reported that Charles Van Commenee was very happy to hear that Neil Black will be UKA’s performance director, noting, ” Neil will be in the position to help the second part of the ten year plan to revitalize the sport.”
UK Athletics has changed the future of the sport of athletics in the UK. From the redevelopment of track meet presentation and sponsorship championed by Alan Pascoe’s FastTrack, which no longer represents UKA, to the successes of the British athletes in London 2012, UK athletics continues to evolve. It will be interesting to see how they use the legacy of London to push change and build a higher profile for the sport.
Key to UKA success is also the growth of the sport and event business in the UK. With major events overseen by Sebastian Coe, David Bedford, Brendan Foster and Ian Stewart, all major players in the UK sport business, athletics has been pushed front and center. 80,000 fans in the evening and 75,000 fans during the morning sessions in the London Olympics is a standing tribute to the dreams and support that these men have given to their sport.
Neil Black seems to be another positive move in UKA moving forward towards Moscow 2013, Beijing 2015, Rio 2016 and of course, London 2017.
One caveat, evolution is a chaotic, ruthless process, with ups, downs and paradigm shifts. How the economy affects the sport globally and regionally can not be underestimated. In the UK, the good thing is that much of the sponsorship for athletics is in place, although sponsorship renewals after 2012 will be managed by UKA. Those announcements will be watched with much anticipation. UKA has become a modern model of success for many federations around the globe.