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Page last updated at 08:58 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 09:58 UK
Worries over 2012 legacy

Michael Hobson
Michael Hobson aims to compete in 2012.

Bexley athlete Michael Hobson dreams of competing in the London 2012 Games as a long-distance runner. Read his diary here.

July/ August 2009

The months of July and August featured a host of major international championships. By all accounts these championships could be considered as highly successful from a British prospective; the most notable being the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team's performance at The IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

Prior to Berlin, British teams had been successful in age group competitions at both under 20 and under 23 level.

A number of young athletes who currently receive support are turning their backs on UKA and migrating to the American Collegiate system.
Michael Hobson

Some of this was experienced close to home with a number of medals heading to athletes based at St Mary's University with James Brewer and Simon Horsfield winning Silver and Bronze in the 1500m at the European u23 and u20 championships respectively.

Another impressive performance came from Charlotte Purdue, the Mick Woods coached athlete who will be attending St Mary's University in September, who finished 2nd in the 5,000m at the European under 20 championships in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Surpassing expectations

Brewer's medal in the age group was followed up by sterling performance at the World Championships in Berlin where he acquitted himself impressively, narrowly missing the final by a margin of 0.07 seconds, despite having a personal best going in to the championships five seconds slower than anybody else in the semis.

James Brewer
James Brewer, 1500m U23 silver medallist

James was not the only performer to surpass expectations with Great Britain and Northern Ireland, winning a total of six medals as well as a stream of unexpected finalists.

With Usain Bolt's exploits stealing most of the media attention there was only minor coverage of what was perceived as a successful championship performance in the British Camp.

However, the small publicity it did receive seemed to portray UKA Performance Director Charles Van Comenee as the reason behind the British success and paint the picture of athletics as a sport on the up.

A worrying trend in reports has been the lack of acknowledgement for the majority of less seasoned athletes who were successful in Berlin.


Also at the various age group championships athletes had been working with their individual coaches for a long period of time and had very little input from UKA's new policies under Charles Van Comenee.

On the flipside there is a feeling that certain UKA protocols were starting to pay dividends, which was evident through the performance of individuals at the age group championships as well as in Berlin.

Interestingly the most valued of these seems to be the Strength and Conditioning and Support Programme provided by the English Institute of Sport. This was put in place by former UKA Performance Director Dave Collins, which is widely rumoured to become far less accessible with the cutting of three High Performance Centres and the current talent programme.

The result of such policy being that a number of young athletes who currently receive support are turning their backs on UKA and migrating to the American Collegiate system.

This is a worrying trend which leaves me questioning the future of athletics post 2012: something which contradicts the ideal of a legacy that made Lord Coe's bid successful.

Read Michael's June diary



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