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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 April, 2005, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
UK Athletics boss takes hard line
UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins
Collins was professor of sports psychology at Edinburgh University
UK Athletics' new performance director Dave Collins will get tough with Britain's athletes as he goes in search of greater major championship success.

Changes planned by Collins include cutting the number of Lottery-funded athletes from 52 to 40, and binding them to performance-related contracts.

Three senior performance managers will replace UKA's four technical directors to work with Team GB's top medal hopes.

Collins also wants to make more use of specialists and nurture young talent.

Alan Storey, John Trower and Aston Moore will take on the senior performance manager roles.

They will work with the elite athlete-coach pairings deemed to have the potential to win medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Distance-running coach Storey will be responsible for endurance, Trower - the former coach of javelin thrower Steve Backley - will focus on sprints, and Moore will cover field and combined events.

It was a given that we needed to change things
Dave Collins
Collins, who has made it clear he will not be afraid to withhold funding from any athlete unwilling to meet his demands for higher standards, admits his blueprint for reform may not be welcomed by everyone.

But the former Royal Marine turned sports psychologist says he is braced for criticism.

"It was a given that we needed to change things. There was some good practice but that good practice was far from uniform," he said.

"We were not converting as many of the medal hopes and the medal chances that we wanted.

"The bottom line is that if an athlete shows a declining profile or a flat profile and they are not doing anything different, what do we do?

"We might suggest to an athlete that a change of coach is necessary and in some cases we might insist.

"It is absolutely fair that the athletes have expectations of us and in a professional set-up we should be able to have some expectations of the athletes."

Kelly Sotherton celebrates her bronze medal at the Athens Olympics
Trower and Moore have been working with Olympic heptathlete Kelly Sotherton
As for his trio of senior appointments, Collins said: "They have all got experience of taking athletes to the top level.

"They know what it takes to get there and what it takes to stay there.

"You need the technical expertise but you also need an approach, a lifestyle, the commitment.

"You need planning and you need to be innovative - all the things it takes to be at the top.

"Their role is to provide a critical sounding board to the (coach-athlete) pairing on the decisions they are making."

Collins will also speak to the likes of former Olympic champion Linford Christie as he seeks to surround athletes with the best expertise.

Double Athens Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes and Backley are also expected to be approached.

Regional performance managers will also be appointed to focus on supporting potential athletes and reduce the amount of talent dropping out in transition stages, such as school-to-university or from junior to senior competition.


SEE ALSO
Collins unfazed at landing role
08 Dec 04 |  Athletics
Collins named UK Athletics chief
07 Dec 04 |  Athletics


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