Adam Gemili and Christian Malcolm, photo by British Athletics
This piece is about the recent coaching announcements by Christian Malcolm.
Change is scary in any organization. Malcolm needs to bring in a team that he believes is good for the sport.
In the media, our job is to present both sides of a controversy. I believe that we do that here.
We wish Darren Campbell and Tim Benjamin the best of luck. We also note that as an Olympic coach, Christian Malcolm is always going to be second-guessed.
That’s part of the job.
Latest coaching appointments raise further questions at British Athletics
British Athletics has announced the appointments of Darren Campbell as Head of (short) Sprints and Relays and Tim Benjamin as Head of (long) Sprints and Relays. The decision to split the role of Head of Sprints and Relays into long and short sprints was taken recognising the specialist expertise both candidates bring to this event group. Both roles are part-time but offer full-time coverage. Both Benjamin and Campbell will begin their new roles with immediate effect.
Olympic Head Coach, Christian Malcolm said: “These are great appointments for the sport. Darren and Tim bring a wealth of experience to the roles following their successful careers in and out of the sport. I am pleased to bring them into the team as we continue to support athletes and coaches to achieve their goals during 2021 and beyond.”
The British Athletics press released added: “Darren Campbell will oversee the short sprint programme and relay teams, putting into action his vast array of knowledge from a formidable career which saw him claim gold medals at Olympic, European and Commonwealth level. He was most memorably part of the Olympic gold-medal-winning 4x100m relay team from the 2004 Games, and also claimed Olympic 200m silver, three world medals, three European titles, and two Commonwealth golds.
“Tim Benjamin began his career over 200m before moving up to the one-lap distance and won individual gold at World Youth and European Junior level as well as bronze and silver at world junior and Euro Under-23 competitions over the two distances. He also went on to claim 4x400m relay silver medals at both the World Indoor Championships and European Championships in 2003 and 2006 respectively”.
What was striking was that the resumÃ©s of the two referred to their competition records rather than their coaching experience.
Matt Lawton wrote of the appointments in The Times: “British Athletics has risked a backlash after giving two senior performance roles to applicants without a valid coaching licence.
Leading figures in British athletics coaching contacted The Times concerned that Campbell and Benjamin — who are both former training partners of the new head coach, Christian Malcolm — have only limited coaching experience. While Campbell’s licence is understood to have expired in 2005 — when he was still competing — sources claim Benjamin’s assistant coaching certificate has not been renewed since 2013.
One source pointed to the fact that it was only recently that Joanna Coates, the UKA chief executive, said she was determined to move the organisation away from a ‘jobs for the boys’ culture”.
When Christian Malcolm was appointed Olympic Head Coach, concern was expressed at his lack of experience and that he had never been a personal coach to an athlete.