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Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Thursday, 18 September 2008 15:31 UK

Van Commenee gets UKA coach role

By Matt Slater

Charles van Commenee
Van Commenee is known for his technical skills and frank talking

Charles van Commenee will be confirmed as national head coach of UK Athletics (UKA) next week, BBC Sport understands.

The Dutchman, who coached heptathlete Denise Lewis to Olympic gold in 2000, replaces Dave Collins, who stood down as performance director last month.

Van Commenee, 50, will be charged with reviving the fortunes of Britain's athletes ahead of the London Olympics following a poor showing in Beijing.

Team GB won just four medals, falling short of its target of five.

One of those medals was a gold, won by 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu. Britain's other medallists were triple jumper Phillips Idowu and high jumper Germaine Mason, who both won silver, and 400m hurdler Tasha Danvers, who claimed a surprise bronze.

Van Commenee, who has also coached British heptathlete Kelly Sotherton in the past, has spent the past four years as the performance director for the Dutch Olympic Committee.

He was in the frame the last time the British job was available but ruled himself out of the running after growing frustrated with the length of time it took for UKA to make a decision. The job eventually went to Collins, who succeeded the outgoing Max Jones in March 2005.

Van Commenee, who was the Dutch chef de mission in Beijing, has a good knowledge of British athletics, having worked for the UKA as multi-events director under Jones.

Official confirmation of Van Commenee's new role will come at a press conference near Heathrow airport on Tuesday morning. The search to find a head of coaching development to work alongside him continues.

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see also
Collins leaves UK Athletics post
01 Sep 08 |  Athletics
Foster wary of changing UKA boss
31 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Danvers backs under-fire Collins
26 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Sotherton denies rift with coach
21 Nov 04 |  Athletics
Edwards backs Van Commenee
16 May 04 |  Athletics

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