Eriksson named UKA head coach
October 29, 2012 11:38 am
UK Athletics has appointed Swede Peter Eriksson as their new Olympic head coach.
Eriksson will move immediately from his role as UKA's Paralympic head coach to succeed the outgoing Charles van Commenee, who will officially step down when his contract expires in December.
Van Commenee opted to walk away, despite a hugely successful four-year spell, when Team GB failed to achieve his target of eight medals at the London 2012 Olympics. "It is a great privilege to be asked to take on this role," Eriksson said.
Britain's haul of six medals still represented a successful tenure for the Dutchman, however, and Van Commenee leaves massive shoes for Eriksson to fill.
The 59-year-old Scandinavian does have pedigree, however, having led Britain's Paralympic athletes to 29 medals at the London Games, 11 of which were gold.
Eriksson added: "I will continue with the methods and approach that has proved so successful in the Paralympic arena, and that has been about strong performance management of our best medal prospects to maximise the likelihood of medal-winning performances.
"The Olympic team performed very well in London, finishing fourth in the world with four golds so I have a great platform on which to build. But I believe we can still do better in Rio 2016, and of course when the World Championships take place in the London Olympic Stadium in 2017.
"The next five years look like an exhilarating time for British athletics."
The recruitment had been shrouded in secrecy since Van Commenee's announcement, with UK Athletics successfully keeping a lid on speculation. Welshman Tudor Bidder, who operates in a similar role for the Australian Institute of Sport, was linked with the post in recent days with Eriksson another name in the frame.
Eriksson will work closely with UKA chief executive Niels de Vos and new performance director Neil Black. Kevin Tyler, who worked closely with Van Commenee as head of coaching development, had been the early favourite for the top job before deciding to return to Canada.
Copyright © Press Association Ltd. 2012, All Rights Reserved.