A busy night of changes at UK Athletics. This is the official release that Stuart Weir sent me to provide some background for the ending of the tenure of Christian Malcolm as the Olympic Head Coach for British Athletics.
Following a revision to the UK Athletics performance plans and structures, backed by the UKA Performance Management Group and UK Sport, UK Athletics can confirm that the role of Olympic Head Coach – currently held by Christian Malcolm – will be discontinued after this summer’s European Championships in Munich. Other opportunities created as a result of the revised structure will be discussed with him over that period as a number of changes are made.
The revised plans, which have been part of an ongoing strategy review with UK Sport over recent months, will come into play from September. As part of a range of amendments to the previous approach, the key principles include:
- Further Increasing levels of support and engagement with athletes on the World Class Performance (WCP) programme;
- A significant increase in financial investment into the personal coaches of athletes on the WCP (Olympic and Paralympic)
- Investment into planned new athlete performance and technical innovation centre
- Increased investment into Event Group Leadership across the WCP.
To ensure athletes across the programme continue to receive the support and focus required, new roles will be introduced to the programme. As well as the previously communicated incoming role of Technical Director with extensive coaching knowledge to lead the WCP, there will be new event leadership appointments in due course to sit alongside the WCP Head of Sprints & Relays and WCP Endurance Performance Manager that already exists, and a number of additional athlete support roles.
As a result of this change, combined with increasing the financial investment into personal coaches of athletes on the WCP, the role of Head Olympic Coach has been removed from the structure.
Christian Malcolm will continue to deliver his Head Coach role for the duration of this summer’s major championships, working alongside Paula Dunn, Team Leader for this summer’s World Championships in Eugene and European Championships in Munich.
Mark Munro, interim CEO for UKA, said: “We are extremely grateful and appreciative to Christian for his time and efforts as well as his commitment and professionalism during his time as Head Coach.
“Taking on board a role during a pandemic and the associated challenges that bring – alongside staffing and structure changes – has been incredibly challenging. He has worked hard to steady the ship and continued to be professional throughout.
“Unfortunately, given all the changes we need to make, and the greater prioritisation for investment into personal coaches, the Olympic Head Coach role does not sit within the revised structures. However, we have made a commitment to work with Christian over the summer with the potential for exploring other roles within the structure to enable us to maintain his involvement with UKA.
“Ensuring the WCP is in the right shape to support athletes towards the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games is an absolute priority for UKA. Therefore, we will continue to evolve our systems to ensure greater support for WCP athletes and their coaches, as well as increasing investment into excellent support environments for athletes either locally or at a central point they can access.”
Christian Malcolm said:
“I am very disappointed to hear about the news but understand the rationale around this decision.
“My priority now is to continue working in the same way, maintaining professionalism and doing my job throughout the summer. I am fully focused on supporting our athletes and coaches during this extremely busy summer for our sport.
“We have some incredibly talented athletes – some of whom have ambitious aims to compete across three major championships this summer. I’m looking forward to seeing them compete and supporting those individuals towards the World and European Championships, as well as representing their home nations during the Commonwealth Games.”
UKA can confirm that the recruitment process for the new UKA Technical Director has been ongoing with a view to appointing shortly, with a start date in September.